Published: 16:43, 17 November 2020
| Updated: 16:44, 17 November 2020
The director of public health in Kent has warned not people to expect a return to tier one rules once we come out of lockdown in December.
With cases in Kent and Medway rising another 59% (to 4,329), people across the county may have to plan for a restricted Christmas if figures don't drop soon.
Andrew Scott-Clark, the director of public health at Kent County Council, said: "We know the impact of going into lockdown hasn't come out in the figures yet. We hope to see a slowing in the growth of Covid cases right across the county.
"We're looking for that to happen in those areas that have had significant increases, particularly in Thanet and Swale. But I would say it is too early to tell yet to know what is going to happen with the figures.
"We'll need to see the figures over the next week or two before we can really determine how we might come out of lockdown.
"But I would say to people now, don't expect to come out at the same place as we went in.
"This is simply because of how numbers have risen significantly since those early days when we went into a tiering system."
Though it is hard to say whether figures will drop in the next week, it's worth noting areas in the north entered tier three lockdowns with infection rates lower than some in Kent.
If the upward trend continues or does not slow enough by December, it could result in tier two or three lockdown restrictions in some areas of the county as the festive season approaches. This would mean households could not visit each other.
Between November 5 and November 11, Thanet had the highest rise in cases at 95%, bringing weekly cases up to 651, and the highest infection rate at 458.7.
Following close behind, Swale has seen cases rise by 77% to 639.
The authority is also the only other area with an infection rate over 400 at 425.8, a similar rate to many areas in the north when they were put into tier three.
Every area of Kent and Medway has seen a rise in cases, bringing the infection rate up to 232.74.
The area with the lowest rate of infection is Tunbridge Wells at 107.8 with 128 cases.
This may have something to do with Covid-19 case figures recently being re-shuffled by Public Health England, meaning many areas in Kent have seen cases counted in their area drop.
Tunbridge Wells was impacted most by the re-shuffle, with cases dropping by 25% afterwards.
The only area to see an increase was Dartford, but this was only by 4%.
The adjustment means Covid-19 cases are no longer sorted by where a patient says they are living but by the area shown in the patient’s summary care record.
The drop in cases in most Kent areas is primarily down to university students returning home after developing the virus on campus.
The number of people being treated with Covid-19 in hospital has also jumped in the last month. There were 14 Covid patients being treated in Kent's hospitals on October 10, which rose to 221 by November 10.
Though this is far lower than the peak of 654 beds in use on April 20, it still displays a worrying increase.
A Kent County Council spokesman said: "It’s really important we protect the most at risk people among our older residents and this is important now, before we reach the end of any national restrictions.
"We are also working with partners towards a local Test and Trace system which will be aligned to and support the current NHS national system and we hope to have it in place by the end of November.
"The Kent Local Tracing Partnership will continue to be an element of the national one and will utilise the experience of the Kent Together helpline, using call handlers to contact people that the Government Test and Trace system has not been able to reach.
"The main thing people can do is to follow the national restrictions and self-isolate if they have symptoms or have been advised to self-isolate. If you have symptoms, book a test. Play your part to help protect Kent and Medway."