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Fall in coronavirus cases across Kent and Medway


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Coronavirus cases are continuing to fall across Kent, with some neighbourhoods recording a drop of more than 50%.

The latest figures show that new cases in the seven days to January 17 fell by 30% in Kent and by 34.8% in Medway.

Fewer cases mean Kent's Covid cases map is gradually changing colour
Fewer cases mean Kent's Covid cases map is gradually changing colour

Kent recorded 5,638 fewer cases - 13,179 in total - compared to the previous week, with the figure falling by 1,190 in Medway to 2,229.

All of the county's districts saw a significant fall in cases, with the biggest being in Thanet (-39.2%), Medway and Dartford (-33.6%).

Kent's infection rate over the period stands at 829.4 and Medway's at 798.5, both well below the UK average of 922.4.

Ten neighbourhoods across the county recorded falls of more than 50% in the figures released this afternoon. They were:

Istead Rise & Meopham: -50% (47 cases)

Cliffe: -50% (40 cases)

Lympne & Palmarsh: -51.5% (32 cases)

East Malling, West Malling and Trottiscliffe: -52.9% (80 cases)

Rainham South East: -53.1% (38 cases)

Hempstead & Wigmore: -53.4% (41 cases)

Dumpton (Thanet): -54.2% (65 cases)

Parkwood West (Medway): -55% (36 cases)

Sheppey East: - -67.4% (89 cases)

Cranbrook, Sissinghurst & Frittenden: -68.8% (25 cases)

Percentage falls and new cases for the county's districts over the seven day period are as follows:

Ashford: -25.7% (1,145 cases)

Canterbury: -21.5 (1,286 cases)

Dartford: -33.6% (998 cases)

Dover: -16.6 (1,137 cases)

Folkestone & Hythe: -32.5% (920 cases)

Gravesham: -31.8% (932 cases)

Maidstone: -28.1% (1,438 cases)

Sevenoaks: -31.1% (891 cases)

Swale: -32.1% (1,262 cases)

Thanet: -39.2% (1,146 cases)

Tonbridge & Malling: -32.5% (1,135 cases)

Tunbridge Wells: -32.8% (889 cases)

The vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across the county, with 62.3% of people in Kent now having received their third or booster jab. The figure for Medway is 56.2%.

The fall comes after it was announced on Wednesday that Plan B measures including mask wearing and working from home are to be dropped while self-isolation rules will also be scrapped.

Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons more than 90% of over-60s across the UK had now had booster vaccines to protect them, and scientists believed the Omicron wave had peaked.

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There are hopes the Omicron peak has now passed in Kent and the rest of the country.

Some scientists believe Omicron is the “first ray of light” in ensuring Covid becomes endemic and something we learn to live with.

The fall in cases comes after Kent saw record levels of positive tests throughout December as the more infectious variant took hold.

The fall in cases comes as restrictions are eased and people are no longer advised to work from home. Library photo
The fall in cases comes as restrictions are eased and people are no longer advised to work from home. Library photo

While the number of cases falling gives cause to be optimistic, a change in government rules could be a factor in the drop.

People with no symptoms no longer have to take a PCR test if they return a positive result on a lateral flow, so statisticians have to rely on them self-registering the infection.

Last week Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Security Agency's chief medical adviser, says hospitals have been able to discharge patients “faster” due to Omicron being milder than previous coronavirus variants.

But she added that the NHS remains under “a lot of pressure”, with some trusts “unable to do much of their elective care” - a situation exacerbated by staff absences.

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