Posted: 21.06.21 at 15:57 by Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporter
The number of patients inside Devon’s hospitals following a positive Covid-19 test fell in the last week, but infection rates have risen by 146 per cent in Devon.
However, the rise in cases has not yet materialised into hospitalisations – although there is a lag between infection and illness which may not have seen enough time pass to take account for the most recent rise.
The latest Government figures, which give the position as of Tuesday, June 15, show that there were three patients in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital – the same as the previous week – with only two of them admitted in the most recent week.
But there still have been no patients in the hospital in North Devon since April 3, while Torbay Hospital has been free of patients since April 13 – the only day since March 30 when it housed a patient.
Derriford Hospital in Plymouth was also free of patients, down from two as of the previous Tuesday, with no patients having been in the hospital since last Friday.
There are no patients in hospitals in Devon in a mechanical ventilation bed.
The figures show how many patients are in hospital following a positive test for Covid-19, but not whether they were admitted for Covid-related reasons, whether they were infected inside the hospital, or whether their admission was entirely unrelated but they happened to have Covid at the same time.
In terms of hospital deaths, the most recent was at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on May 9.
It comes as the latest data in Devon shows the largest volume of positive cases among young people and the younger working age population, 20 to 39 year olds.
Across Devon, infection rates in those aged 0-19, 20-39, and 40-59 have risen in the past week, but of those aged 60+, rates are not rising, and in Torbay, only the 20-39s are seeing a rise.
In all of Devon’s districts, only Teignbridge isn’t seeing its highest infection rates in the 20-39s, with the 0-19s having a higher infection rate.
In the week of June 5-11, by specimen date, no-one aged 40-59 in East Devon, 60-79 in the South Hams, and over 80 in East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, Teignbridge, Torridge or West Devon tested positive for Covid-19.
A spokesman for Public Health Devon said that this rise is most likely due to the fact that these are the age groups which are only just being vaccinated, and they're also the age groups who tend to mix more socially.
They added: “We’re not seeing an especially high number of outbreaks in workplace settings – and more likely that it includes the most recent age groups which are now beginning to be vaccinated.
“It is also likely that this is an age group that tends to mix more socially. We know that increased social mixing, particularly indoors, increases the risk of transmission, and with pubs, restaurants and many other places open again, the opportunity for social contact is much more available.
“So, here’s a call-out to everyone, including this younger working age population. Please be mindful. We’ve still got to be careful. There are still rules, especially around social distancing and face coverings indoors, and we need to follow them. And please take up the vaccination when you’re invited to do so.
“If you’re out with others, or staying in with others, stick to the rules – hands, face, space and fresh air.”
Devon County Council are advising people to take Covid tests regularly – twice a week, plus whenever they plan to meet up socially with others – with last week, their mobile sites helped people with 516 lateral flow tests and also handed out 18,000 tests for people to do themselves at home.
Lee Meaden, who manages the Community Testing programme, said: “Even though test kits are available and it’s easy for people to do the tests themselves at home, we are finding a lot of people are still preferring to have assistance from us to take the test. Our mobile testing units and staff are ready and happy to help. No booking is required. And we’ll get the results to you within half an hour, allowing you to get on with your day.”
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