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Coronavirus deaths creeping closer to levels of first wave as Kent Covid-19 cases rise again this week

Deaths in Kent are creeping closer to the levels seen at the pandemic's peak while cases rise another 56.6%.

Kent and Medway saw weekly cases rise by 13,383 on the week ending December 16, bringing the infection rate up to 719.5 - far above the UK rate of 284.2.

Source: Public Health England
Source: Public Health England

Weekly deaths have also risen in Kent and Medway. On the week ending December 15, 199 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 - up from 67 the month before on week ending November 17.

Just three weeks before this, on October 26, just 12 people had died in the last week.

During the peak of the first wave, Kent's highest number of deaths per day (as a seven day average) was 22.6 on April 9. In the second wave, December 12 saw the highest average at 21.7.

Recent figures have shown Folkestone is the district with the highest death rate at 180.5 per 100,000 people.

However, Folkestone has the 8th highest infection rate of 13 areas, standing at 666.4 with another 753 cases in the previous week - a 61% increase.

Source: Public Health England
Source: Public Health England

The area with the highest infection rate is Medway, as the 2,762 additional cases (up 60%) recorded in the previous week bring the infection rate up to 991.7.

This is almost one case per every 100 people.

Sevenoaks, despite being the area with the second lowest infection rate of 437.3, is the area with the highest increase in cases in the last week - seeing a rise of 139% as 528 more cases were recorded.

There are a few things which can explain the county's drastic rise and the need for a tier four lockdown.

First is the new strain of coronavirus which is 70% more transmissible than the strains encountered before September - and is suspected to be why cases continued to rise during lockdown.

Source: Public Health England
Source: Public Health England

This is also why France have barred drivers from crossing to Calais from Dover, leading to drivers being stuck in their lorries on the run up to Christmas.

The second factor which would contribute to the rise in cases is the incredible rise in testing in the week ending December 16 in an effort to tackle the rise caused by the new Covid-19 strain.

Between December 10 and December 16, the number of people tested in Kent rose by 19,830 - from 59,099 to 78,929. The percentage of those tested found to be positive rose from 13.1% to 14.5%.

The new test centres have helped get an extra 19,000 people to be tested every day. Before this, it had taken six weeks to increase testing by the around same number - as testing rose from 40,573 on November 4 to 59,099 on December 10.

More people being tested will mean more cases will be found, boosting case numbers. But this does not mean Kent is safe, it just explains a little of the rise.

KCC leader Roger Gough outside Sheerness East Workiing Men's Club at Halfway which is becoming a mass test centre for people without coronavirus symptoms. Picture: John Nurden
KCC leader Roger Gough outside Sheerness East Workiing Men's Club at Halfway which is becoming a mass test centre for people without coronavirus symptoms. Picture: John Nurden

Speaking about the Tier 4 announcement from the weekend, Kent County Council Leader Roger Gough said: “This is devastating news for the county, for our local economy and for the families that have made Christmas plans that are now in ruins.

“We will continue to push forward with our local testing and tracing programme, asymptomatic testing and constant engagement with our residents to ensure we are all able to abide by the regulations and get infections down.

“I know the huge difficulties and sacrifices this announcement will cause, but the science is unfortunately very clear. Each one of us must again continue to protect each other’s health from this devastating virus.

“Kent County Council will do everything we can to support local businesses, many of which have already suffered and will have to now remain closed until these new restrictions are lifted.

“We believe, and will be arguing strongly to government, that business support in tier four areas must be strengthened and enhanced to protect livelihoods.

“Christmas is a time when families and friends come together and this year many will find themselves alone and struggling. The Kent Together helpline remains open for all those requiring help and support during this time.”

To read more about last week's coronavirus numbers, click here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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