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Covid-19 rise in Kent slows as one millionth test recorded

A worrying rise in Covid-19 cases across Kent has started to slow at the same time as the one millionth test being recorded in the county.

Infections rates have continued to increase across the region since September, with many boroughs and districts ranked among the worst in the UK.

Has the tide started to turn in Kent?
Has the tide started to turn in Kent?

But while cases are still rising, the speed of the increase has reduced - suggesting we could soon see a levelling off of rates in Kent.

The most recent figures published by Public Health England show the county's rate had increased by 39% in the week to December 20, hitting 740 weekly cases per 100,000 people.

It was the lowest week-on-week growth since December 8, and well below the 58% jump recorded on December 15.

In comparison, the national rate stood at 355 on December 20 - a weekly rise of 61%.

A new, more infectious strain of Covid-19 - said to have originated in Kent - is said to have been the catalyst for local rates soaring.

Medway - which has its own public health department - has the highest in the region, at 1,088 weekly cases per 100,000 people.

But in area's run by KCC, Gravesham's rate - at just short of 900 - is now the highest after a 76% increase in cases.

Only marginally lower are Ashford and Swale, although the latter's rate has only risen 19%.

Just below them is Dartford, which has seen an alarming 91% increase, suggesting it could soon usurp its neighbouring borough as Kent's worst.

On the other end of the scale, rate rises have slowed dramatically in Canterbury (9%) and Dover (14%).

Gravesham now has the highest infection rate in Kent
Gravesham now has the highest infection rate in Kent

Alongside the vaccine, mass testing is seen as the biggest weapon in the fight to control the spread of the virus and get rates down, with sites launched across Kent and Medway, and more planned.

Latest figures show there have now been 1,011,886 tests carried out in the county since the pandemic struck.

In the week up to December 20, 14.4% of tests taken returned a positive result.

This figure was as low as 0.4% in August, but reached a pandemic high of 34.9% during the peak of the first wave, when tests were largely only available to those presenting to hospitals with symptoms.

In total, 60,219 people from Kent and a further 14,258 from Medway have now tested positive for the virus.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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