The number of weekly number of coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall fell again in the week to Friday March 12 – despite several care home outbreaks and a huge increase in testing as schools returned.

A total of 379 new cases were confirmed across the two counties in the last week – the lowest since the week ending September 25 – with the total since the start of the pandemic at 46,343

Cornwall has the second lowest infection rates of any upper tier authority in England, with Devon ninth, and at a lower tier level, the four of the five lowest infection rates are in Devon, with South Hams the lowest.

Government statistics show that 379 new cases have been confirmed across the region in the seven days to March 12th in both pillar 1 data from tests carried out by the NHS and pillar 2 data from commercial partners, compared to 380 new cases confirmed the week before.

Of the 379 new cases confirmed since March 5, 87 were in Cornwall, 85 in East Devon, 33 in Exeter, 15 in Mid Devon, 8 in North Devon, 75 in Plymouth, four in South Hams, 33 in Teignbridge, four in Torridge and three in West Devon.

Schools across Cornwall had spent a lot of time preparing for opening day last week, and by this week, all cohorts of students will be back in school.

Satff working in primary and secondary schools, along with college staff, will be asked to take?two COVID-19 tests each week at home. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.

Students at secondary schools and colleges are being offered three COVID-19 tests on their phased return to the classroom, following their first negative test result. The government has requested that students then take two rapid tests each week at home, and students with consent were sent home with their first lot of testing kits last week.

Public Health Consultant for Children at Cornwall Council, Brian ONeill said: “Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged, and students will not be tested unless they or their parent or carer has given informed consent. Those who test positive with the Lateral Flow Tests will be asked to book in for a second test called a PCR test and told to self-isolate.

“This testing gives us a better idea on the number of cases circulating in the community and helps us to control the spread. But testing is not a silver bullet; we should all still be practising the message of hands, face and space.”

There are currently no plans to carry out regular asymptomatic testing for primary school pupils, but tests will be available for parents of primary age children.

Tests are available for adults in these households to collect from sites across Cornwall. As with student testing, this is encouraged but not mandatory.

The link for booking a drive-through test if you’re an essential worker who can’t work from home is

However, households of school-age children are asked simply to visit their nearest testing centre to pick up kits for themselves. There’s no booking required. People can find their nearest centre here - or you can order one online here: