COVID-19 levels nationally have fallen sharply over the last week, and case rates in Devon are showing signs of levelling off.
But while the national data looks reassuring, it would be unwise to let that reassurance lead to less cautious behaviour, experts warn.
So what are we seeing?
“We’re seeing just part of a picture,” says Tina Henry, Devon’s Deputy Director of Public Health.
“Confirmed cases nationally have fallen for a number of consecutive days. But there have been changes recently that might have bearing on those figures, such as schools closing for summer and the good weather which allows us to spend more time with others outside rather than inside.
“However, we have only recently eased many restrictions, and so it’s too early to be sure about where the numbers are leading. The next few weeks will give us a better sense of whether this is an indication of a longer term decline, particularly following the lifting of restrictions.
“Falling numbers of confirmed cases are only part of the picture. Hospital admissions and vaccination rates are also important and routine testing needs to continue for some people who do not have symptoms but may have the virus.
“We do know however that rates are still high, and that the pandemic is not yet over. Current case rates in Devon remain higher than at any previous point in the pandemic, when lockdowns and further restrictions were in place.
“Now is the time to remain alert. We need to see how the data continues to look over coming weeks and months, but right now we must all continue to do our bit.
- Limiting our social contacts is the best way to stop the virus spreading
- Meeting others outside is safer than meeting inside
- Consider continuing to wear face coverings when indoors in public places
- Keep on washing your hands properly and regularly
- Adults who haven’t yet had their jabs, please have both doses as soon as you can
- If you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, please do so
- If you show any symptoms of having the virus – the high temperature, new and continuous cough, or change of your usual sense of taste or smell – please self-isolate and arrange a PCR test
“We will continue to monitor the cases in Devon, but we must all keep in mind that the pandemic is not yet over.”