NEW coronavirus cases across Devon and Cornwall nearly doubled in the seven days to December 18.

A total of 1,615 new cases were confirmed across the two counties – the highest since the week ending November 13.

Cases have risen in every single region of Devon and Cornwall – with more than doublings occurring in North Devon, Teignbridge, Torridge, West Devon, Cornwall and the South Hams – although the latter two are still in the bottom five authorities in the country for infection rates.

Government statistics show that 1,615 new cases were confirmed across the region between Dec 11 -18. This covers both pillar 1 data from tests carried out by the NHS, and pillar 2 data from commercial partners, and compares to 869 new cases confirmed the previous week.

Of the 1,615 new cases confirmed since December 11, a total of 343 were in Cornwall, 238 in East Devon, 132 in Exeter, 100 in Mid Devon, 176 in North Devon, 216 in Plymouth, 60 in the South Hams, 123 in Teignbridge, 73 in Torbay, 66 in Torridge and 95 in West Devon.

By specimen date, cases are rising everywhere except Exeter and Torbay – although the rise in Plymouth is very shallow.

Positivity rates in Cornwall are 1.4 per cent, 5.1 in East Devon, 4.2 in Exeter, 3.5 in Mid Devon, 4.7 in North Devon, 2.3 in Plymouth, 1.7 in the South Hams, 2.5 in Teignbridge, 1.2 in Torbay (and falling, the only region to do so), 2.4 in Torridge, and 3.4 in West Devon.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 249 patients in hospital across Devon and Cornwall following a positive Covid-19 test, with 114 at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, 35 at the Nightingale Exeter, 30 in North Devon, 29 at Royal Cornwall Trust Hospitals, 20 at Derriford Hospital, 12 at Torbay Hospital, and 9 at Cornish Partnership Trust Hospitals.

There were seven patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds, with five at the RD&E and two at Derriford Hospital.

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 last week, there have been 28 deaths within hospitals in Devon and Cornwall within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 death, with 20 in Exeter, six in North Devon, one in Plymouth, and one in Cornwall. No deaths in the last seven days have occurred in Torbay.

And while NHS 111 data for Cornwall is unchanged in the last week, Devon’s has fallen by 25 per cent, but the R-Rate for the South West has risen slightly from 0.8-1.0 to 0.9-1.2

In terms of the latest MSOA cluster maps, that cover the period of specimen dates between December 7 to December 13, Callington and Pensilva (22), Gunnislake and Calstock (15), Exmouth Brixington (25), Feniton and Whimple (19), Honiton North East (17), Cranbrook, Broadclyst & Stoke Canon (15), Exmouth Littleham (15), Wonford and St Loye’s (21), Fremington and Instow (28), Roundswell and Landkey (20), Kingsteignton (18), Ogwell, Mile End and Teigngrace (15), Bideford South and East (18) and Tavistock (16) are the only areas reporting clusters of 15 or more.

Uffculme and Hemyock (14), Mutley (12), Woolwell and Lee Mill (13), Shiphay and the Willows (9) are the highest clusters in other areas.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon (Designate) said: “While we saw a decline in cases in November as a result of the national lockdown, over the last week, we have seen that decline stop and a start of a rise in some of this cases.

“What this means is now more than ever we need to do our bit to stop those rates from rising sharply over the next week. The Government informed Devon we will stay in Tier 2. I urge you all to adhere to the Tier 2 guidance over the coming weeks.”

Here’s a list of coronavirus ‘clusters’ for areas of North Devon, Torridge and North and East Cornwall (figures correct for December 7-13) with the number of cases and infection rate per 100,000 people:

Callington & Pensilva: 22, 263.5

Gunnislake & Calstock: 15, 232.3

Liskeard: 4, 68.3

Mid Saltash: 3, 54.8

Tywardreath & Fowey: 3, 49.5

Lostwithiel & Penwithick: 5, 45.4

Par: 3, 42.2

Bude & Stratton: 4, 37.5

Dobwalls, Addington & Menheniot: 3, 33.9

Altarnun & Stoke Climsland: 0-2, 0

Bodmin East: 0-2, 0

Bodmin West: 0-2, 0

Camelford & Tresmeer: 0-2, 0

Crackington & Tintagel: 0-2, 0

Kingsand, Antony & Maryfield: 0-2, 0

Lanreath, Pelynt & Polraun: 0-2, 0

Launceston: 0-2, 0

Looe & Polperro: 0-2, 0l

Poundstock & Kilkhampton: 0-2, 0

Saltash Latchbrook & St Stephens: 0-2, 0

Saltash Town & Pillmere: 0-2,0

St Germans & St Mellion: 0-2, 0

St Neot & St Cleer: 0-2, 0

Torpoint: 0-2, 0

North Devon

Fremington & Instow: 28, 437.7

Barnstaple Pilton: 13, 223

Barnstaple Central: 13, 205

Barnstaple Sticklepath: 8, 135.7

South Molton: 11, 110.3

Braunton: 9, 95.4

Barnstaple South: 7, 78.7


Bideford South & East: 18, 140.5

Westward Ho! & Northam South: 4, 62.7

Hartland Coast: 4, 61.5

Holsworthy, Bradworthy & Welcombe: 6, 59.2

Winkleigh & High Bickington: 4, 54.7

Bideford North: 3, 50.3

Appledore & Northam North: 3, 49.2

Shebbear, Cookworthy & Broadheath: 3, 42.4

Great Torrington: 0-2, 0

By Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter