DEVON and Cornwall has seen its lowest weekly total of deaths linked to COVID-19 since the week ending October 9.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which relate to the week of March 20 to March 26, but registered up to April 3, show that five of the 304 deaths registered in Devon and Cornwall had COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

Of the five deaths registered in week 12 (March 20-26), there were two deaths of people from East Devon (both in a hospital), one death of someone from Torbay (in hospital), one death of someone from Mid Devon (in hospital) and one death of someone in the South Hams (in a care home).

No deaths have yet been registered in the Isles of Scilly, and no deaths in Exeter, Torridge, Cornwall, Plymouth, Teignbridge (for the fourth week running), West Devon (for the sixth week running) and North Devon (for the seventh week running) were registered.

No backdated deaths were added into the dataset this week.

In total, 1,718 deaths from coronavirus have been registered across Devon and Cornwall, with 946 in hospitals, 651 in care homes, 110 at home, four in a hospice, three in a communal establishment and four ‘elsewhere’.

Other communal establishments, as defined by the ONS, include defence bases, educational premises, prisons (including probation/bail hostel, prisons, detention centres and other detention), hotels, hostels, travel and temporary accommodation (including B&Bs, temporary shelter for homeless and holiday parks), and religious premises.

The ONS defines elsewhere as all places not covered by the other definitions, such as deaths on a motorway, at the beach, climbing a mountain, walking down the street, at the cinema, at a football match, while out shopping or in someone else’s home.

Of the deaths, 567 have been registered in Cornwall, 231 in Plymouth, 204 in East Devon, 167 in Torbay, 127 in Teignbridge, 127 in Exeter, 81 in Mid Devon, 71 in North Devon, 55 in Torridge, 51 in the South Hams, 37 in West Devon, and none on the Isles of Scilly.

So far in 2021, there have been 305 deaths in Cornwall, 92 in Plymouth, 80 in East Devon, 67 in Teignbridge, 58 in Torbay, 54 in Exeter, 34 in Mid Devon, 27 in South Hams, 14 in North Devon, 14 in Torridge and 9 in West Devon.

The figures show in which local authority the deceased’s usual place of residence was. For instance, if someone may have died in Derriford Hospital but lived in West Devon, while the death may have been registered in Plymouth, their death would be recorded in the mortality statistics for the ONS figures against West Devon.

Deaths that have occurred since March 26 will be recorded in next week’s figures, as long as the deceased lived within Devon and Cornwall, the death has been registered, and COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The number of new coronavirus confirmed across Devon and Cornwall have also fallen a third and to the lowest level since mid-September.

A total of 292 new cases were confirmed across the two counties last week – the first week with less than 300 since the week ending September 18– with the total since the start of the pandemic at 47,410.

Cases confirmed rose in Exeter and North Devon – both though by a single figure total – and have fallen everywhere else in the two counties.

Of the 292 new cases confirmed since March 26, 92 were in Cornwall, with 23 in East Devon, 25 in Exeter, 17 in Mid Devon, 9 in North Devon, 74 in Plymouth, 11 in South Hams, 15 in Teignbridge, 19 in Torbay, 3 in Torridge and 4 in West Devon.

This compares to the 397 new cases confirmed between March 19 and 25, of which 109 were in Cornwall, with 44 in East Devon, 19 in Exeter, 20 in Mid Devon, 7 in North Devon, 126 in Plymouth, 11 in South Hams, 16 in Teignbridge, 27 in Torbay, 9 in Torridge and 9 in West Devon.

by Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporter