Published: 18:35, 27 December 2020
| Updated: 19:22, 27 December 2020
Figures show the Medway and Swale areas have been the hardest hit by coronavirus this year, with the county having recorded more than 75,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.
While it currently has the highest rate for new cases, Medway has also recorded the highest number of positive cases in the county in 2020, with 14,790 positive tests for Covid-19 since March.
But while Medway has a larger population than other districts in Kent, its infection rate is not the worst over a longer period. Swale has a marginally higher rate for the whole pandemic, at 5,724.9 per 100,000 of the population, to Medway's 5,309.5. Swale has recorded 8,592 positive tests, the second highest in Kent, behind Medway.
Most districts in Kent are well above the average rate for England over the same period, which stands at 3,487.9.
Latest figures released today show each district of Kent having recorded the following number of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic (infection rate per 100,000 of population is shown in brackets):
Medway: 14,790 (5,309.5)
Swale: 8,592 (5,724.9)
Maidstone: 6,866 (3,995.9)
Thanet: 6,766 (4,767.4)
Canterbury: 5,898 (3,566.0)
Ashford: 5,413 (4,162.8)
Gravesham: 4,984 (4,660.6)
Dartford: 4,916 (4,365.7)
Dover: 4,774 (4,041.3)
Tonbridge and Malling: 4,248 (3,214.5)
Folkestone and Hythe: 4,080 (3,610.7)
Sevenoaks: 3,249 (2,690.7)
Tunbridge Wells: 2,820 (2,375.3)
Kent's council areas have recorded the following number of deaths since the start of the pandemic. The figures below relate to deaths within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 (with rates per 100,000 of the population in brackets):
Medway: 406 (145.8)
Swale: 240 (159.9)
Thanet: 227 (159.9)
Folkestone and Hythe: 224 (198.2)
Canterbury: 205 (123.9)
Dover: 191 (161.7)
Ashford: 186 (143.0)
Maidstone: 154 (89.6)
Dartford: 136 (120.8)
Gravesham: 125 (135.6)
Sevenoaks: 106 (87.8)
Tunbridge Wells: 94 (79.2)
Tonbridge and Malling: 77 (58.3)
While the figures show Medway has recorded the highest number of deaths, several councils have a higher rate per 100,000 of their population, including Thanet, Dover, Swale and Folkestone and Hythe, which has the highest rate at nearly 200. The average rate for England is 109.6.
A new, more infectious strain of Covid-19 - said to have originated in Kent - is believed to have been the catalyst for local rates soaring in recent weeks.
But while cases of coronavirus in the county are still rising, the speed of the increase has reduced, suggesting Kent's rates could soon be levelling off.
And the start of the vaccination programme earlier this month has given much hope for a return to normality in 2021.