Lowest since September
Latest weekly figures show coronavirus cases in Devon and Cornwall are the lowest since September.
A total of 108 new cases were confirmed last week – bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 48,287 – although the numbers may be slightly higher given Tuesday’s figures saw many false positives removed from the data giving a negative total for that day.
The week to 5 September was the last time the total was lower, with 96 cases.
While numbers in Exeter, South Hams and Teignbridge in the last week are slightly up – none by more than four cases – while cases in Plymouth are down 75 per cent in the last week.
Infection rates in Cornwall, Devon and Torbay are in the bottom ten in England, with Plymouth just outside, but rates in the city are falling faster than anywhere else in the region.
Infection rates are highest in children up to age 19. Eight of the 11 areas recorded no cases in the over 80s.
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said: “While coronavirus is still present in our communities, and people are still at risk of catching it and spreading it, the common sense approach is the cautious approach.
“Around one in three people who catch coronavirus do not show symptoms, so can spread the virus to others without knowing.
“And while vaccines reduce the chances of catching covid-19 and passing it on, and of serious illness, they do not eliminate the risk as protection against the virus is not guaranteed.
“I ask people to remain ever vigilant of risk as we take in the latest easing of restrictions. We are allowed to do a little bit more now, but just because we can, doesn’t mean we must.”
He added: “Make testing part of your regular week. Build it into a routine, and use the lateral flow device tests as well when you know you’re likely to be meeting up with friends or family. These tests are so fast now that you will have your result and peace of mind in half an hour. If it comes back positive, then you’ll prevent others from catching it by staying home and arranging a confirmatory test.”
It comes as there are now just two patients in hospitals in Devon following a positive covid-19 test, neither on ventilators.
Derriford Hospital has one patient who was admitted on May 14, while the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital also has one patient, the lowest for the Trust since October 8, with September 11 the last time it was free of covid. There have been no patients in hospital in North Devon since April 3, while Torbay Hospital has been free of patients since April 13 – the only day since March 30 it housed a covid patient. No one has died of covid in hospital in Devon since 29 April
It comes as more than 700,000 people in Devon have had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine – with close to 500,000 having had a second jab.
The statistics, which provide the position as of May 17, show that there have been 1,169,431 vaccines delivered in Devon, with 729,168 being a first dose, and 440,263 being a second dose.