THE number of new coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall in the seven-day period up to last Friday fell below 1,000 for the first time since the start of October.

A total of 869 new cases were confirmed across the two counties – the lowest since the week ending October 2 – with the 104 cases confirmed on Friday the lowest since October 12.

But while cases are falling in most areas, there have been very small rises in Mid Devon, East Devon and Teignbridge.

Torridge has seen cases drop by more than two thirds, while the South Hams has seen only 16 cases confirmed in seven days.

Government statistics showed that 869 new cases were confirmed across the region in the seven-day period in both pillar 1 data from tests carried out by the NHS and pillar 2 data from commercial partners, compared to 1,047 new cases confirmed the previous week.

Of the 869 new cases confirmed since December 4, a total of 103 were in Cornwall, 154 in East Devon, 111 in Exeter, 64 in Mid Devon, 92 in North Devon, 154 in Plymouth, 16 in South Hams, 56 in Teignbridge, 48 in Torbay, 30 in Torridge and 41 in West Devon.

This compared to the 1,047 new cases confirmed between November 27 and December 3, of which 146 were in Cornwall, 149 in East Devon, 149 in Exeter, 51 in Mid Devon, 95 in North Devon, 165 in Plymouth, 38 in South Hams, 48 in Teignbridge, 67 in Torbay, 94 in Torridge, and 45 in West Devon.

Of the 869 new cases, 664 had a specimen dater between December 4 and December 10, with 69 in Cornwall, 109 in East Devon, 86 in Exeter, 51 in Mid Devon, 78 in North Devon, 136 in Plymouth, 11 in South Hams, 41 in Teignbridge, 32 in Torbay, 21 in Torridge and 30 in West Devon.

By specimen date, cases are falling in Cornwall, Exeter, the South Hams, Torridge, Torbay and West Devon, and are flat in East Devon and Plymouth, the latter seeing a small rise in the most recent day of data.

Mid Devon and North Devon are seeing cases rise by an average of three cases a day, while Teignbridge’s rise is around 1.5 cases a day, with only the South Hams having a lower case rate.

The number of people in hospital in the South West, though,, rose slightly in the seven-day period up to Friday, to 913 from 904 – the figures have been revised upwards in all areas of the UK – but there are 51 patients in mechanical ventilation beds, down from 60 as of the previous Friday.

The number of patients in hospital across Devon and Cornwall following a positive COVID-19 test have fallen.

NHS England figures show that, as of Tuesday morning, December 8, there were 231 patients across Devon and Cornwall, in hospital after a positive COVID-19 test. This compares to 255 as of December 1.

Patient numbers within hospitals in Cornwall have decreased, as they have at the Royal Devon and Exeter, Derriford Hospital, Torbay Hospital and at Livewell South West facilities, while the numbers at North Devon District Hospital are unchanged.

The Nightingale Hospital in Exeter has seen an increase in the number of patients, rising to 32 from 20.

The figures show there were 88 patients in the Royal Devon and Exeter (down from 101), 36 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (down from 45), 23 in Torbay Hospital (down from 28), 37 in North Devon District Hospital (unchanged), five at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (unchanged), two in Cornish Partnership Trust hospitals (down from 6), while seven beds at Livewell SouthWest facilities (down from 12) and one bed at Devon Partnership Trust facilities (unchanged) were also occupied, as well as the 32 patients at the Nightingale.

And the number of patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds has fallen as well, dropping from 19 to 12, with four at the RD&E, five at Derriford Hospital and three in North Devon District Hospital. There are no mechanical ventilation beds in Cornwall or Torbay being occupied by patients following a positive COVID-19 test.

The figures show the amount of patients in hospital following a positive COVID-19 test who are currently occupying a bed.

But not every patient would necessarily have been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, with a number of patients either contracting the virus inside the hospital, or being admitted for unrelated reasons but subsequently testing positive asymptotically when given routine tests.

In the week up to last Friday, there were 25 deaths within hospitals in Devon and Cornwall within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, with 14 in Exeter, seven in North Devon, three in Torbay, and one in Plymouth. No deaths in the last seven days have occurred in Cornwall.

by Daniel Clark,

Local Democracy Reporter