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Swale and Medway pass 700 Covid cases per 100,000 people for the first time as Tier 3 restrictions remain

Two parts of Kent have recorded an infection rate of more than 700 cases per 100,000 people as the pandemic continues to ravage the county.

The latest grim milestone has been reached in Swale and Medway, placing them second and third nationally, and another four Kent areas now feature in the top 20 for rolling infection rates.

Infection rates continue to rise in Kent
Infection rates continue to rise in Kent

Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales tops the table, with a rate of 752.6 per 100,000 people.

Many of our districts find themselves among the worst hits parts of the country, with Dover, Maidstone, Ashford and Canterbury joining Swale and Medway in the top 20 places with the highest per-capita case rates for the period December 5-11.

While Medway has breached the 700 mark, the average across the rest of Kent stands at 494.9 weekly cases per 100,000 people, highlighting the gap between Swale, with a rate of 725.6 and Sevenoaks at 246.8.

However, all parts of Kent remain above the average for England, and the upward trend in all areas means the health secretary Matt Hancock has this afternoon announced that the entire county will remain in Tier 3, the toughest level of Covid-19 restrictions.

The rising case numbers are also translating to increased pressure on the NHS, at a time when the service would already be seeing winter demand grow regardless of the pandemic.

Statistics for December 8 showed that the NHS hospitals trust in East Kent was caring for 227 coronavirus patients, Medway had 219, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells 168, and Dartford and Gravesham 107. The number of patients occupying ventilation beds stood at 18 in East Kent, 12 in Maidstone, 10 in Medway and three in Dartford and Gravesham.

"A number of hospitals in our region are under considerable pressure..."

People are being asked to think twice about whether they need to seek hospital treatment during this challenging, but should not ignore symptoms which might require immediate attention.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We are continuing to see periods where the time taken to hand over patients at hospital is taking significantly longer than we would like, at a time when we recognise that a number of hospitals in our region are under considerable pressure.

"We are continuing to work closely with all our hospitals to manage this demand.

"We are working hard to respond to patients as quickly as possible and are monitoring the situation closely. We would like to remind people to only call 999 in the event of a serious or life-threatening emergency and to use 111 for non-emergency calls. We are very proud of our staff and thank them for their ongoing efforts and professionalism."

Asymptomatic testing for Covid-19 is expected to begin in Swale and Thanet this week in a bid to tackle the county's rampant rates of infection.


Test centres at a working men's club in Sheerness and at the port in Ramsgate will offer swab tests to those who do not display symptoms of the virus but may be unwittingly spreading the illness.

People attending the new sites will take a lateral flow swab test and should receive their result within half-an-hour of attending the test.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Swale

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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