Published: 14:00, 09 February 2021
| Updated: 15:18, 09 February 2021
Weekly coronavirus cases have almost returned to pre-lockdown 2 levels - though some neighbourhoods are seeing higher infection rates than others in the county.
The overall Kent and Medway infection rate stands at 171.5 with 3,191 new cases and is a 35.9% drop week-on-week.
Andrew Scott-Clark speaking about Covid-19 rates
At the start of lockdown 2 on November 5, there were 2,875 new weekly cases making the infection rate around 154.
However, weekly deaths have not yet returned to pre-lockdown 2 numbers.
On November 5 figures for that week showed 24 people had died after contracting Covid-19, compared to the latest figures from almost a week ago on February 3, which showed there had been 143 deaths.
This is a significant drop from the second wave's peak for the week ending January 17, when 415 deaths were recorded.
The district with the highest infection rate on the week ending February 3 is Gravesend, with 255 new weekly cases bringing the infection rate down by 39.3% to 238.5.
Every area in Kent saw a drop in cases in the last week, with Canterbury seeing the most significant drop of 51.6%.
Tunbridge Wells currently has the lowest infection rate at 154.1 with 183 more cases in the last week showing an weekly drop of 21.8%.
The neighbourhoods with the highest infection rates include Chatham South East in Medway at 461, Folkestone Morehall & Sandgate in Folkestone at 456.8 and Dumpton in Thanet at 454.9.
On the other hand, some areas have incredibly low infection rates.
Staplehurst in Maidstone has the lowest with fewer than three cases (causing infection rate data to be suppressed to protect the identity of those infected), followed by Thanington & Chartham in Canterbury with an infection rate of 37.1 and Sevenoaks Town & Weald at 38.3.
Andrew Scott-Clark, director of public health in Kent, said: "All our rates are below the national average which is really great news.
"But it's a long way to go before we can think about opening anything up and getting back to business as usual.
"We really want to see the case rates as we were in summer where there were around 25 cases per 100,000.
"We need to continue as we are in lockdown - and that is of course why we have seen this reduction in rates. We need to maintain that and continue to abide by the rules, maintain and reduce our social distancing as much as possible to keep these rates going down in the way they have been.
"The rates have come down, but what I would say to people is that we've got a virus out there that is more transmissible than we've seen in the previous wave so any social interaction beyond the lockdown actually risks the case numbers going up - so we need to be really careful now and hunker down."
And just yesterday government announced the NHS is now urging unvaccinated people aged 70 and over to book appointments to ensure everyone in this vulnerable bracket gets a vaccine quicker.
This comes as it is announced that around 62% of those in high priority groups in Kent have been vaccinated - with the hope all will be vaccinated within the next week.
Another vaccination site has opening this morning at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge which has started to provide lifesaving jabs.
It is the third site of its kind and should deliver thousands of vaccinations to people each week.
And a £10 million government grant was rolled out by Kent County Council yesterday to protect vulnerable businesses and households hit hard by the pandemic.
The Helping Hand Scheme will help to fund households in financial crisis, businesses and the self employed, those facing digital poverty and local community projects.
Roger Gough, Kent County Council leader, said: “We understand the pressures that the latest national lockdown has put on our most vulnerable households and businesses, particularly those who were just about managing.
“Our hope is this latest package of funding will significantly address the hardship Kent’s most in need individuals, families and businesses are experiencing - simply because they are unable to work, or trade, due to Coronavirus restrictions.
“I am very pleased to be able to say that, throughout the pandemic, Kent County Council has continued to provide essential services.
"Together with our key partners and a host of other organisations and charities, we have ensured that all those who require extra support have received it.”