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Coronavirus figures still low but rising slightly

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The latest COVID-19 surveillance report from UKHSA indicate that case rates have increased, including the numbers of people in hospital with coronavirus.

Here in Devon cases of the virus have also risen slightly, with the latest Office of National Statistics data estimating that 2.3 per cent of Devon population, or around 1 in 45 people in the county, currently have the virus.

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:

“It may not make news headlines anymore, but we are continuing to see new positive cases of coronavirus on a daily basis in Devon, among people of all ages.

“Thankfully, with most people vaccinated, the virus isn’t having the impact it once had, and most people are experiencing symptoms similar to the common cold or flu.

“With no rules to enforce, it’s reassuring to see anecdotally an awareness of risk, and that people are choosing to keep themselves to themselves when they’re feeling under the weather.

“I would still encourage people, when showing symptoms of a virus, to continue to stay home for five days if they can, which is the period during which people are most infectious, and avoiding older or vulnerable friends and relatives especially.”

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon
Director of Public Health Devon, Steve Brown

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

“After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over.

“It is encouraging that we are not seeing an increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions but we are monitoring data closely and assessing the possible impact of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

“As we enter summer, it’s still important to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus. If you’re not yet up to date with your jabs please come forward now – it’s not too late to get protected.

“Remember to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.”