Published: 20 November 2020
Steve Brown, the Director of Public Health Devon (Designate) made a fresh plea this week. He acknowledges some of the positive things happening right now, but asks that we all keep our wits about us as coronavirus case numbers continue to rise in Devon. He said: “There’s lots to be optimistic about right now, which is great. But we mustn’t let it become a distraction from the task in hand – to stop the spread of coronavirus. We may be feeling like we’re in the final chapter of this pandemic, but I wouldn’t be doing my job as Director of Public Health if I were not to inject a strong measure of caution with a dose of cold facts. Case numbers in Devon are still rising, especially in the working age population. My plea to you is that we must not let our enthusiasm to return to normal actually set us further back.
Published: 13 November 2020
News this week of a vaccine becoming available was welcomed by Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon, but she advises caution. “It’s exceptionally good news,” she said, “but it is still early days, and while the announcement is tremendously positive, there is still a lot of work to do nationally before a programme of mass vaccination is possible. “The NHS is currently putting in place plans to deliver a COVID vaccine to priority groups. “While the announcement this week is positive, it is absolutely vital that we do not take this as a green light to relax our efforts in halting the spread of coronavirus. It is imperative that we continue to make every effort to follow the national public health advice, to the letter. That means, maintaining social distance, wearing face coverings when out and in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult, and washing our hands properly and regularly.
Published: 6 November 2020
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and in doing so protect the NHS and save lives. That’s why new national lockdown restrictions now apply in England, including staying at home, not gathering with people you don’t live with and closing certain businesses. Earlier this week, Dr Virginia Pearson, Director for Public Health Devon, urged everyone to ‘act now to stop the virus in its tracks’ and help prevent local health services being overwhelmed this winter. “Local people and businesses made huge sacrifices during the first lockdown and this really helped to keep the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths down in the county,” she said.
Published: 2 November 2020
The Prime Minister made an announcement at the weekend, signalling the need for a second period of national lockdown in England. Parliament will debate and vote on the measures this week, and if passed, they will come into force on Thursday 5 November, and remain in place until Wednesday 2 December.
Published: 30 October 2020
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to put a huge financial strain on some people. Employment situations are changing rapidly and for some their income now no longer covers what they need, or they have lost their jobs completely. Help is available. If you, or someone you know, is worrying about money and how to pay for basic household essentials, please apply for extra assistance through funding that we have made available via your district council’s hardship fund.
Published: 22 October 2020
Council Leaders from across the region have published a joint message this week; “Coronavirus doesn’t take a break – please respect and protect local communities.” It’s a message for anyone thinking of coming to or travelling in and around the south west this half-term. And it echoes the tone of a new social media campaign across the region that is specifically targeting people coming to the region.
Published: 16 October 2020
The pattern in Exeter has shown a successful reduction in student cases with no sign of significant spread thanks to the swift actions of the university and other partners in working together to contain the situation. But we must not be complacent. We are now seeing more community cases in Exeter and across Devon, in line with the rise in the rest of the country, particularly in the working age population, and we expect cases to increase over the next few weeks. These cases cannot be linked to university students and the coronavirus appears to be passing between people outside of COVID-secure settings, which suggests that community spread is now occurring. Obviously, we want to limit the impact on people in older age groups and those who are particularly vulnerable so the time to act is now.
Published: 14 October 2020
The government’s new three-tiered system of local COVID alert levels comes into force today in England. Devon is at ‘medium’ alert level. We’ve put together some information to help you understand what that means.
Published: 9 October 2020
We are seeing cases in Devon rise generally as elsewhere in the country, but we are still lower than the national average for England though. In Exeter, the number of positive cases among the student population is going up significantly, but the number of cases among non-students are still fairly low, and is certainly below the England average. This gives us a high degree of confidence that we are not seeing significant spread from the student population to the non-student population in Exeter. If we think about a ‘ladder’ of interventions, and lockdown of Exeter being the top rung on the ladder, we are no where near the top yet. There are things that we can do in addition to the things that we are currently doing to help try to control that spread of the virus and hopefully avoid us getting towards the top rung of that ladder.
Published: 2 October 2020
The latest figures show another rise in the number of COVID-19 tests provided in Devon. 10,900 tests (Pillar 2) were carried out during the week ending 25 September, a significant rise on the 7,600 test carried out during the previous week. Test resources had been diverted to other parts of the country where infection rates and demand for COVID-19 testing is higher. That had, for a time, left Devon residents struggling to book tests locally and quickly.