A further 11 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in East Devon in the past week – with the number in Exeter rocketing by 107.
The city accounts for 60 per cent of fresh positive results recorded in the Devon County Council area in the past seven days.
Figures published yesterday (Friday, October 3), show a total 381 new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed across Devon and Cornwall in the past week.
This is compared to 365 in the previous seven days.
The data comes from both ‘pillar one’ data, from NHS tests, and ‘pillar two’ data from commercial partners.
Numbers in the Devon County Council area – which does not include Plymouth or Torbay – nearly doubled from 96 to 178.
One-hundred-and-seven of these have been in Exeter.
East Devon’s weekly total of 11 new cases is the same number as the previous seven days.
Plymouth saw a drop from 74 to 36 cases.
Torbay’s cases rose from 18 to 39, with this partially linked to a care home outbreak.
There were eight new cases in Mid Devon, 13 in North Devon, nine in the South Hams, 20 in Teignbridge, five in Torridge, and four in West Devon.
Cases in Cornwall have dropped from 179 to 132.
Five coronavirus ‘clusters’ – of three or more cases – have been identified in Exeter.
These are in the Pennsylvania and University (52 cases), St Leonard’s (four), central (five), St James Park and Hoopern (nine) and Middlemoor and Sowton (seven) areas.
The city’s increase has been linked to a rise in cases among university students.
It is understood that at least 60 households within the city are self-isolating and following public health advice.
There is no evidence at this stage of the virus spreading into the wider community, say public health chiefs.
With demand for tests is rising, the University of Exeter has invited the national Test and Trace scheme to set up a temporary centre on the Streatham campus dedicated to students and staff.
Asked whether there were any discussions around a ‘local lockdown’ for Exeter, a Devon County Council spokesman said: “A decision of a magnitude of a city-wide lockdown would be made at a national level. At the moment, case numbers are not there.”
East Devon total hits 305
An overall total of 305 Covid-19 cases have now been confirmed in East Devon and 460 in Exeter.
The Plymouth total is 948 cases, Torbay 377, Teignbridge 272, Mid Devon 249, and North Devon 168.
There have been 151 in the South Hams, 87 in West Devon, and 76 in Torridge.
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have had 1,397 confirmed cases.
‘District areas still low’
Devon’s deputy director for public health Steve Brown said: “The latest numbers show another rise in the number of tests carried out in Devon, and we are hearing fewer reports of delay or having to travel distances to attend a test.
“Overall, the county is still comparably very low down the table for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
“We have the immediate increase in cases in Exeter for which there is no evidence of spread within the community, but confirmed cases in our seven other district areas are still low.
“Testing resources in the main are keeping up with demand in Devon, and I ask anyone who is showing symptoms – the high temperature, new and continuous cough, or change in their sense of taste or smell – to self-isolate immediately and book a test.”
The Covid-19 cases are identified by taking specimens from people and sending these to laboratories around the UK to be tested. If positive, this is a referred to as a lab-confirmed case.
Confirmed positive cases are matched to Office for National Statistics geographical area codes using the home postcode of the person tested.
Of the 381 new cases confirmed in Devon and Cornwall, 280 have a specimen date between September 25 and October 1.
Ten of these were in East Devon and 72 in Exeter.
The majority of the other 101 cases occurred between September 21 and 24, although some date back to the start of the month.
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