South west R rate could be country's highest and lowest
The number of coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon has doubled in the last week for which figures have been released.
Seven cases were recorded in Plymouth – of which four were in the Honicknowle & Manadon area. Torbay had three cases (up two), with a rise from 12 to 26 in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay.
Across the Devon County Council area, of the 22 cases, nine were in East Devon (of which four were in Seaton), four in Exeter, three in Mid Devon and North Devon, two in the South Hams and Teignbridge, and one in Torridge. No new cases were confirmed this week in West Devon. Three of the cases are unspecified in this list.
Although the number of people contracting the disease has doubled in the county, the last death in hospital from covid-19 was on 29 June and for the second week in a row, no deaths were recorded in Devon in data published by the Office for National Statistics.
The R Rate for the south west is now estimated as between 0.8 and 1.1, up from 0.8 to 1.0 from last week, and could be both the lowest and highest in the country. That's because 0.8 is the joint lowest figure for any region, and 1.1 is the joint highest. If all other regions are above 0.8 except the south west, the region is containing coronavirus well. If it's 1.1 in the south west, but all other regions are below this, the region is a covid hotspot. As towns in the north of England are under partial lockdown, it's unlikely the south west is the covid capital of the UK, but as the R figure covers a large geographical area and low case numbers, the estimate isn't robust enough to inform policy decisions.
Torridge remains the place in England with the lowest overall positivity rate, and is third in the overall table behind the Outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands. Including Scotland and Wales, the South Hams is 7th, North Devon 9th, West Devon 10th, Teignbridge 13th, East Devon 14th, Cornwall 15th, Exeter 21st, Torbay 27th, Mid Devon 48th and Plymouth 51st of the 369 regions.
In total, Torridge has had 57 positive cases, West Devon 75, with 103 in the South Hams, 125 in North Devon, 215 in Mid Devon, 217 in Teignbridge, 239 in East Devon, 258 in Exeter, 288 in Torbay, 693 in Plymouth and 961 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Covid-19 cases are identified by taking specimens from people and sending these specimens to laboratories around the UK to be tested. If the test is positive, this is a referred to as a lab-confirmed case.
The data is shown by the date the specimen was taken from the person being tested and while it gives a useful analysis of the progression of cases over time, it does mean that the latest days’ figures may be incomplete.