A dozen coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded in Exeter in a fortnight – with case ‘clusters’ remaining in every part of the city.
Devon was today moved up to Tier 3 of the Government’s pandemic restrictions.
County health chiefs say a rise in cases among all age groups meant the move was ‘inevitable’.
Another four fatalities due to the virus have been recorded in Exeter, according to the latest weekly Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
Figures published on Tuesday (December 29) show two of these deaths were in hospital, one was in a care home, and one was ‘elsewhere.
The numbers relate to deaths which occurred in the week of December 12 – 18 but were registered up to December 26.
Eight coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the city between December 5 – 11; five of them in hospital and three in care homes.
Across Devon between December 12 -18, there were 13 Covid-related deaths in East Devon; two each in Torbay and Torridge; five in Teignbridge, six in both North Devon and Mid Devon.
None were logged in Plymouth, the South Hams and West Devon.
Five deaths due to coronavirus were recorded in Cornwall.
In total, 66 Covid-19 deaths have now been registered in Exeter; 37 of them in hospital, 26 in care homes, two at home, and one ‘elsewhere’.
Some 877 coronavirus-related deaths have been registered across Devon and Cornwall; 515 in hospitals, 293 in care homes, 62 at home, one in a hospice, and six ‘elsewhere’.
Of these, 97 have been in East Devon; 135 in Plymouth; 106 in Torbay; 55 in Teignbridge; 50 in North Devon; 33 in Torridge; 37 in Mid Devon; 25 in West Devon; and 24 in the South Hams
A total of 249 deaths due to the virus have been registered in Cornwall.
The ONS figures for Devon and Cornwall include people who have died at home, in hospital, in care homes, hospices, ‘other’ communal places, or ‘elsewhere’.
They are broken down by the local authority area in which the deaths were registered.
Cases and ‘clusters’
The Government’s latest weekly statistics show 184 new cases were confirmed in Exeter between December 18 and 25.
And ‘clusters’ of three or more infections have also been identified in all of the city’s 15 wards.
The highest numbers are in St Leonard’s (18 cases), Wonford and St Loye’s (17), and Central Exeter (17).
A total of 3,323 Covid-19 cases have now been confirmed in Exeter.
Covid ‘clusters’ in Exeter:
- St Leonard’s (18 cases);
- Wonford and St Loye’s (17);
- Central Exeter (17);
- St Thomas East (15);
- Pinhoe and Whipton North (14);
- Heavitree East and Whipton South (13);
- St Thomas West (12);
- Alphington and Marsh Barton (11);
- Pennsylvania and University (11);
- St James Park and Hoopern (11);
- Middlemoor and Sowton (11);
- Countess Wear and Topsham (ten);
- Exwick and Foxhayes (ten);
- Heavitree West and Polsloe (seven);
- Mincinglake and Beacon Heath (seven).
The ‘clusters’ data, last updated this afternoon (Wednesday, December 30), is based on a rolling rate of new cases by specimen date ending on December 25.
Figures are based on Middle Super Output Areas (MSOA) in England – broken down into zones of around 7,200 people.
Devon moved to Tier 3
Exeter is to be moved into Tier 3 of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions.
All of Devon will be subject to the rules from Thursday, December 31, after Whitehall reviewed statuses of areas around the country.
The county had previously been in Tier 2.
It means that:
- Residents must not meet socially indoors with anybody who you do not live with, or you are not in a support bubble with;
- You must not meet socially outdoors (in a private garden or at most outdoor public venues) with anybody who you do not live with, or you are not in a support bubble with.
There are some legal exemptions to both of the above. If you are meeting with friends or family, you must follow the guidance on social distancing and letting in fresh air and limit how many different people you see socially over any period of time.
Extra advice is available for people who are identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable.
- Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafés, restaurants and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services. Food or drink bought via these must not be consumed on the premises, including beer gardens;
- Hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses, must close (again, there are exceptions to this rule);
- Most tourist venues and entertainment must close, but some outdoor venues are permitted to remain open.
Steve Brown, director of public health in Devon, said: “Cases in Devon, while we have been in Tier 2, have been rising in all age groups, as per the national trend.
“Without further intervention with tighter restrictions, we are likely to have seen cases continuing to rise and therefore I feel this announcement was inevitable.
“The decision has been made to place us into Tier 3 and what is important now is we do everything we can to adhere to these tighter restrictions to help bring down cases in Devon
“We will have heard the welcome news today that a second vaccine has been approved for use from early January, but we cannot sit back and relax on the strength of that.
“Please keep up the effort, and remember the key messages, to social distance, wear your face coverings when in a public space where social distancing is not possible, and wash your hands properly and regularly.”
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw said: “It’s great news that the Oxford vaccine has been approved, as this is the one that most of us will get, as it is easier to deploy.
“The Goverment must now ensure that the NHS has the resources and staff to administer the vaccines round-the-clock so we can get on top of this pandemic as soon as possible.
“I also agree with those who argue that administering one dose to as many people as possible as quickly as possible would be better than two doses to fewer people, as all the vaccines provide a very good level of protection at one dose and doing that is likely to get us out of this crisis sooner.”
Business leaders in Exeter say they understand the need for ‘tough measures’ to tackle the rapidly-spreading new strain of coronavirus and protect the NHS and communities.
However, they added this ‘must not be at the expense of further damage to our economy’.
Clodagh Murphy, chairman of Exeter Chamber, said: “With hospitality businesses already reporting an 80 per cent reduction in takings over the Christmas/New Year period, and now facing closure once again, we urgently call for emergency measures to support those businesses that are most affected by these new restrictions.
“These include, but are not limited to, the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors which are vital to both Devon and the wider West Country’s economic success.
“We want thank all of our local businesses and hospitality for all their hard work over the last nine months as we have tackled the changing landscape of this pandemic.
“These businesses are the lifeblood of the Devon economy and they have been tremendous.
“The rollout of the vaccine programme, and the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, gives us all hope of a return to something approaching normality later in 2021.
“However, in the meantime, we must not allow businesses to fail due to lack of government support in these final months, so that they are able to come back in the spring/summer and continue to help the region’s economy prosper and grow.”