Published: 14:09, 01 October 2021
| Updated: 16:03, 01 October 2021
The number of people with Covid-19 in Kent's hospitals has almost halved in three weeks.
Figures show there are 86 patients in the county with the virus - down from 167 on September 7.
With infection rates still high, the falling numbers are evidence of the success of the vaccination programme, and will come as a relief to medics across Kent.
It had been feared a spike in patients at the start of September would continue to rise as we approach the traditionally busy winter months, heaping more pressure on hard-working hospital staff.
But there has been a steady decline since, with the total falling 49% in just three weeks.
It left 86 people with the virus in Kent's hospitals on Tuesday - well below the 1,361 at the peak of the pandemic in January.
The number of Covid patients on ventilators has also halved to eight.
The roll-out of the vaccination programme is credited with keeping people out of hospital, with 78% of the county now double-jabbed.
But while patient numbers are falling, infection rates are up 20% and remain high.
In the most recent week there were 3,984 new cases in Kent - 664 more than the week before.
The county's infection rate of 251 cases per 100,000 people is the highest it has been for three weeks, but is still below the national rate of 334.
Thanet has the lowest at 115, after seeing cases fall by 26%.
There have been 63 recorded Covid deaths in Kent this month.