Thanet council says the district could face the threat of continuing restrictions when the national lockdown is reviewed in December if Covid infection rates continue to rise.
Before national ‘lockdown’ was enacted on November 5 Thanet was in Tier 1 (medium alert) with the main restriction being the ‘rule of six.
However, the isle now has the highest Covid rates in Kent and the south east and has passed many of the North East areas that had previously been put into high alert restrictions, according to data published by government and Kent County Council
Today’s (November 13) figures on the government coronavirus dashboard show 103 new cases reported for Thanet (down on 160 yesterday), making a total of 635 between November 7-13. This is a rise of 323 (or 103.5%) on the figure for the previous seven days.
The total number of people in Thanet who have had a confirmed positive test result as of November 13 was 2,323.
There were four deaths within 28 days of a positive test for Coronavirus reported for the week to 13 November for Thanet. The total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Coronavirus as of 13 November was 123. Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.
Case data for the week ending November 9 published by Kent County Council says the rate of weekly cases in Thanet per 100,000 people now stands at 377 – taking the district above the rate for Swale and making it the highest in Kent and the south east. Government dashboard data has that figure at 343.1 per 100,000 for the seven rolling days to November 8 (timelag on data).
The England average is 254.5 for the same time period. The latest R number for the healthcare region of South East is estimated at 1.2 to 1.4.
East Kent Hospitals Trust data
As of November 5 818 East Kent Hospitals trust beds were occupied and of these 27 were confirmed covid patients beds up from 3 on October 5
Mechanical ventilation beds occupied 36 – of these 5 are confirmed Covid patients
There was just one admission for a Covid confirmed patient between November 1-4
Six inpatients were diagnosed with Covid November 1-4
There were 8 discharges for Covid confirmed patients November 1-4
From November 1-12 (November 8-12 provisional data) 12 Covid-related deaths have been recorded within East Kent Hospitals (main hospitals Margate, Ashford and Canterbury)
A total of 481 covid related deaths have been recorded at East Kent Hospitals since March 1.
Data compiled by HSJ show a 3.5% Covid patient rate at East Kent Hospitals, which is among the lowest in the country.
Thanet council leader Rick Everitt says the whole community needs to take action now to reduce the spread and lessen the risk of high tier restrictions when the ‘lockdown’ ends on December 2.
He said: “Although we have been in a slightly better position than the national picture, this no longer the case. The fact is that the number of cases in Thanet has risen sharply since mid-October and we need to take action to respond as a community. If the numbers don’t fall we face the threat of continuing restrictions when the national lockdown is reviewed in December, which will have a further effect on everyone’s lives, as well as the local economy.
“Case numbers are up across the entire district, not just in one particular area and there is impact across the whole community not just one particular group of people. Everyone must step up and act in a way that protects them, their loved ones and their neighbours. We cannot afford to be complacent and assume that we won’t be affected because we’re not a big urban centre. We’re looking at the data to see where the most affected areas are and will be working with a range of local partners to get the message out and reach the people we need to.
“We have a duty to respond to this pandemic together. The effects of COVID-19 can be devastating. We mustn’t forget how many people in our community have been affected by it, the number of people who have lost loved ones, have lost their livelihood or have struggled with their mental health.
“Ultimately our success, and the threat of further restrictions, depends on each one of us doing what we’re being asked to – staying in, not spending time in other people’s homes, keeping six feet apart from others, covering our faces and washing our hands well. These are all things we must do, they’re within our power but it will only work if everyone plays their part. They are tiny acts of collective resistance against the virus that will result in it being suppressed.”
Cllr Everitt said Thanet council will be working to keep the community informed and provide practical help through its website, social media, local community leadersand media.
The authority will support any Test and Trace activity.
Cllr Everitt added: “Our focus at the moment is on galvanising the entire population of Thanet to come together and protect their loved ones and the communities they live in. We will keep working closely with Kent County Council, Public Health England and the NHS to deliver a joint response and to make sure that when the national lockdown ends we’re taking the appropriate level of measures locally and that the public are kept well informed about these plans.
“I am hopeful that if we all work really hard, together, for the next few weeks, we may be able to avoid unwanted continuing restrictions but only if we protect ourselves and each other.”
Kent Public Health said rising covid infection rates are evident across almost all districts in Kent and the increase appears to be predominately amongst people of working age, which means there is a higher risk of community transmission.
Thanet has two Covid testing centres, a drive in at Manston and a walk/drive in at the car park by Dreamland.
Explained: Three-tier Covid alert levels for England
Andrew Scott-Clark, Director of Kent Public Health, said: “Cases are rising across every area in Kent and we are seeing more outbreaks in the community – especially Thanet and Swale – and among working age populations.
“Although we are still below the national average as a county, it’s really important that 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. KCC is working closely with Thanet District Council and partners to manage and respond to the Covid pandemic and we will ensure the public are kept fully informed as plans for the county, post national lockdown, are established.
“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.
“Alongside this we are in the process of finalising our plans and liaising with the Department of Health and Social Care to request supplies of Lateral Flow Devices (rapid testing). Mass asymptomatic testing is a significant undertaking that requires planning and whilst it is an important part of managing the pandemic, it is not the solution and any testing needs to be alongside all the other public health measures such as social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.
“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 – more information at www.kent.gov.uk/protectkent “
This month has seen positive cases confirmed at schools stretching from Ursuline in Westgate to Newland, Ramsgate Arts Primary and Chilton in Ramsgate, Upton in Broadstairs, St Gregory’s in Margate and King Ethelbert in Birchington.
There have also been cases at Sandwich Tech, Dane Court, St Saviours, Northdown, Birchington, St George’s and Newington.
Others that have been affected since schools fully reopened in September include Chatham & Clarendon, Northdown, Hartsdown, Newington, Royal Harbour Academy, Minster primary, Bromstone, Dame Janet Primary in Ramsgate, Garlinge primary, St Anthony’s School, Ellington infants, Dane Court, Cliftonville primary, St George’s CofE and St Ethelbert’s primary.
Manor House nursery and Thanet Early Years nursery, by Newlands, have also been hit with cases.
It is understood Garlinge primary has again been affected with a case in Year 4 today (November 13).
Awaiting a vaccine
The government has ordered 40 million doses of a new Covid vaccine being produced by pharmaceutical firms Pfizer – which has a base in Sandwich – and /BioNTech.
The vaccine has been tested on over 40,000 volunteers and interim results suggest it is proving 90 per cent effective at protecting people against the virus. But those findings need to be peer-reviewed.
The tests were split between vaccinated individuals and those who received a placebo and results indicated a vaccine efficacy rate above 90%, at 7 days after the second dose.
This means that protection is achieved 28 days after the initiation of the vaccination, which consists of a two-dose schedule.
The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine is one of 11 currently in the final stages of testing.
The companies now plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of November – and a limited number of people may get the vaccine this year.
Military and NHS staff are on standby to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine across the UK.
Weekly cases per 100,000 people (week Nov 3-9)
Tonbridge and Malling 179.3
Folkestone and Hythe 115
Tunbridge Wells 102.8
*DATA COMES FROM GOVERNMENT’S CORONAVIRUS DASHBOARD AND KENT COUNTY COUNCIL.
Community Helpline for anyone who needs additional support at this time. The number is 01843 577 330 and the helpline is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Funding for local businesses will open week commencing 23 November www.thanet.gov.uk/business-advice.
There is a Facebook Group to provide local businesses with information, help and support: www.facebook.com/groups/ThanetBusinessSupport