Published: 06:00, 13 November 2020
| Updated: 17:26, 13 November 2020
Thanet is now Kent's top area for coronavirus as cases across the county surged by more than 1,000 in the past 24 hours.
Thanet's infection rate per 100,000 people stands at 315.7, which puts it above Swale, the previous worst-hit area of Kent, at 305.2.
Since the pandemic started, Thanet, which covers Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs, has had 2,220 confirmed cases.
Swale, which includes Sittingbourne, Faversham and the Isle of Sheppey, has recorded 2,120 cases.
Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of Swale council, told members on Wednesday night (Nov 11) that the reason the two areas were suffering similarly high rates could be down to poverty.
He said: "It is impossible to pinpoint scientifically why infection rates vary from place to place but when we note that Swale and Thanet are the highest in Kent, and consider the towns in the north west and north east, it is reasonable to assume a link between infection rates and deprivation."
Tunbridge Wells is at the bottom of the table with an R factor of 91.8 and only 96 new cases in the past week.
Folkestone and Hythe has a relatively low 98.2 infection rate and 106 new cases.
Gravesham, which was one of the best performing areas, has reported a worrying 76.4% increase (194 cases) - the biggest leap in Kent - with a rate of 201.
Cllr Truelove said: "The day before the present measures were introduced, Public Health England and KCC were pressing for Swale, along with two other districts in Kent, to go into tier 2.
"Data since would suggest that if we are to be put into Tier 2 then so should other districts of Kent and plausibly the whole of Kent."
He warned: "We have a very powerful incentive over these weeks to demonstrate a levelling off of the rate of growth in Swale, to slow down the momentum. The virus spreads virulently through close personal contact. The measures introduced are to reduce considerably that contact.
"We can only tackle the issue here in Swale if we all comply. It is our duty to encourage and exhort that compliance and, in particular, to monitor compliance in the business community.
"I hope all members will help to spread that message and to discourage any members of the community who wish to glory in their non-compliance."
Both Swale and Thanet also have popular beaches which attracted hordes of visitors over the summer.
In June, North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale hit out at a "moronic minority" of beachgoers who descended on the seafront.
Kent's figures coincided with the highest daily number of coronavirus cases in the UK since the pandemic began. There is concern that infections are rising more quickly among elderly people.
Nationwide, another 33,470 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the 24 hours before 9am on Thursday, according to the latest Government figures.
Latest Kent Covid-19 figures
Area 7 days to Nov7 Increase % Rate
Ashford 124 49 65.3 100.7
Canterbury 160 5 3.2 105.8
Dartford 237 99 71.7 226.5
Dover 179 62 53 150.7
Folke & Hythe 106 24 29.3 98.2
Gravesham 194 84 76.4 201
Maidstone 248 53 27.2 150.2
Medway 504 119 30.9 194.6
Swale 427 158 58.7 305.2
Sevenoaks 131 3 2.3 115.9
Thanet 404 164 68.3 315.7
Ton & Malling 185 63 51.6 143.8
Tun Wells 96 38 65.5 91.8