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Director of Public Health explains why North Devon and Torridge are seeing rising case levels

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Case rates of coronavirus in Northern Devon are among the highest in the country, with levels in Torridge in particular now reaching 713 cases per 100,000 people, compared to the national average, 364 cases per 100,000.

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

“Case rates across Devon generally are higher than the national average at the moment, and in all age groups, although the 0 to 19 and 20 to 39 age groups are the highest.

“And although we’re seeing positive cases across a range of settings, it is the high case levels particularly in the 16 to 19, secondary school and college-age people, that are driving the increase to some extent.

“There are a few reasons why North Devon and Torridge may be seeing such high rates.

“Both district areas have, until recently, maintained steady and comparatively low case levels, and with that, therefore relatively lower levels of infection-induced immunity within communities.

“Secondly, testing for coronavirus here in Devon is a lot higher that the national average, so it may be that we are seeing higher levels than elsewhere because we’re identifying them.

“We know that the dominant strain across the UK, and in Devon, is the highly transmissable Delta variant, and that too is driving case levels.

“The good news is that the high case levels are not translating into a significant increase in coronavirus-related hospitalisations, nor deaths. People developing the virus may tend to feel unwell, but are not requiring the medical attention that was once required, and they’re getting better.

“The vaccination programme is undoubtedly helping to keep people from becoming seriously unwell, and I urge everyone to take up the vaccine when they’re eligible to do so, including the third doses and booster doses.

“Testing is still important, as too is self-isolating if you test positive with a PCR test. And following the common sense precautions, remembering that this is an airborne virus, of meeting outside where possible, and ensuring good ventilation if gathering with others indoors; wearing face coverings for other people’s protection when in crowded spaces; and washing your hands regularly.”

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