Kent’s coronavirus infection rate has reached its highest level despite the month-long national lockdown, with deaths increasing ten-fold in November.
The latest figures show there were more cases in the provinces in the week through Sunday than any other since the outbreak began.
Meanwhile, pressure on local NHS services has intensified, with nearly 700 Covid-19 patients Kent Hospitals at the beginning of the week.
The number of people dying from the virus has also increased, with the death toll in November being ten times higher than the death toll in October.
Taken together, the numbers indicate little hope that the county level will drop to Level 2 on December 16.
When the government announced Kent would be a Level 3, the incidence rate was 281 cases per week per 100,000 people.
By November 29, the date when the most complete data was available, it had risen to 298 – the highest number on record for both.
In comparison, same-day England rate was 154 – down nearly 25% on the week.
Soil’s infection rate remains the highest in the county – and England – at 578, but the sharp rise is starting to slow.
However, in neighboring Medway, the rate rose 27% in a week to 560, indicating that it will soon be ranked # 1 nationally.
But infection rates alone will not decide whether restrictions can be eased, with pressure on local NHS services another major factor.
However, the picture at Kent and Medway Hospitals is not optimistic.
On Monday, there were 658 hospitalized patients with Covid-19 across the province – a 40% increase on the previous week – with 44 of them on a ventilator.
Not every patient is treated for the virus, but all patients would have tested positive for Covid-19.
The same can be said of the staggering number of coronavirus deaths recorded in Kent and Midway last month.
The spike in coronavirus cases that began in September – when three deaths were recorded in the entire month – was followed by a spike in the number of people dying.
In October, 39 people died within 28 days of testing the virus, and that number rose to 372 in November.
The regions with the highest rates were the worst affected.
Of the 176 people from Soil who have died from the Covid-19 virus since the outbreak of the pandemic, 74 lost their lives in November.
In the same month, 47 people died from Thanith – accounting for 27% of the total death toll.
At the other end of the scale, only 3% of Ashford’s Covid-19 deaths were recorded in November, with five people dying.
The huge spike in testing since July explains why rates in the second wave were much higher than they were during the first wave – more people are being tested, so more cases are being detected.
But the estimated 10% increase in testing between October and November does not explain why Kent and Medway’s cases increased 11-fold.
The numbers show there were 672 positive tests in the first week of October, and 7,427 in the last week of November.
It is hoped that group tests will ultimately help reduce the rate of infection, with The military yesterday is helping to establish the center On the campus of Kent Midway University.
A pilot scheme will test all key workers in the community, whether or not they develop symptoms, and present results in about 30 minutes.
As more people are tested, case numbers are likely to rise initially, but identifying asymptomatic carriers of the disease who will then be isolated is seen as a way to contain the outbreak.
It is hoped that the percentage of tests that give a positive result will decrease from 15% to 5% at Midway.
KCC Public Health Director Andrew Scott Clark said of group tests that do not show symptoms: ‘We are likely to see a rise in cases, but it also allows us to track outbreaks and ask people to self-isolate, so while cases may increase in the beginning , We envision a reduction in future transmission rates and hence case numbers.
“We will target those people most exposed to the virus in the regions with the highest prevalence of Covid-19 first, so that we can start reducing rates quickly in those areas and thus help the entire Kent move from Level 3 as quickly as possible.”
The government is set to review its classification system before December 16, when any changes are expected to take effect.
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