But hospitalisation up 32 per cent
The number of coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall has fallen in the previous seven days to 4,390, down from 5,120, but it's still the second-highest week figure. The total number of people who've had covid in the area is now 35,548.
The local authority areas with lower numbers this week are Cornwall, East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Torridge and West Devon.
The numbers confirmed with covid in the week to 8 January include 1,651 are in Cornwall, 345 in East Devon, 339 in Exeter, 170 in Mid Devon, 101 in North Devon, 801 in Plymouth, 160 in the South Hams, 333 in Teignbridge, 362 in Torbay, 62 in Torridge and 66 in West Devon.
Confirmed infections increased in Plymouth, Torbay and Teignbridge, and are relatively level in East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and West Devon.
The proportion of people who took tests and were confirmed with covid are 8.8% in Cornwall, 6.5 in East Devon, 9.1% in Exeter, 8.5% in Mid Devon, 3.4% in North Devon, 6.8% in Plymouth, 6.2% in the South Hams, 6.3% in Teignbridge, 5.8% in Torbay, 3% in Torridge and 3.6% in West Devon.
By last Tuesday morning, 350 patients were in hospital across Devon and Cornwall following a positive covid-19 test (up from 264 in the previous week), with 99 patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (up from 96 as of 5 Jan), 34 at NHS Nightingale Exeter (up from 26), 25 at Torbay Hospital (up from 20), 72 at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (up from 47), 9 at North Devon District Hospital (down from 18), and 111 in Cornwall (up from 57).
There were 25 patients in mechanical ventilation beds (up from 14): eight at Derriford, three at Torbay, six at the RD&E, one in North Devon, and seven in Cornwall. Not every patient would necessarily have been admitted to hospital because of coronavirus, with a number of patients either contracting the virus inside the hospital, or being admitted for unrelated reasons but subsequently testing positive.
As a percentage of acute beds available, 2% of beds in North Devon are occupied with Covid patients, 6% in Torbay, 9% in Plymouth, 12% in Cornwall and 17% in Exeter. All but North Devon have seen a rise, but North Devon, Torbay and Plymouth have the lowest percentage occupancy rates anywhere in England.
In the last week recorded, 32 people died in hospital in Devon and Cornwall within 28 days of a positive covid-19 test: 13 in Cornwall, 12 in Exeter, three in North Devon, three in Plymouth, and one in Torbay. In the previous week, 31 people died with covid in hospitals across the two counties.
Steve Brown, director of Public Health Devon, has pleaded with residents to follow the new national lockdown restrictions. He said: “We are seeing increasing in outbreaks in care home and have had some significant outbreaks with 70 or 80 per cent of residents or staff testing positive. Some are asymptomatic but some have symptoms and in hospital, and about 20 per cent of Devon’s cases are care homes.
“It is important to re-emphasise the stay at home message and to stay at home unless it is essential to go out, but every time you leave the front door, you risk coming into contact with someone who may have Covid and could be a crucial link in chain of transmission.”