Kent Public Health director expects tighter local restrictions in county after national ‘lockdown’ exit


Kent’s public health director Andrew Scott-Clark says it is likely that the county will not leave national ‘lockdown’ on the same tier level restrictions in place prior to November 5.

The prediction comes amidst high case levels in Swale and Thanet. Swale now stands at 617 weekly cases per 100,000 people (for the week ending November 14) while Thanet has a rate of 507.3 (slightly lower than data showed yesterday), according to Kent Public Health data.

The government coronavirus dashboard shows 70 new positive covid cases reported today (November 18), making 725 in the last seven days and a total of 2,785. The rate per 100,000 people is shown as 522.1 for November 13, higher than the figure produced by Kent Public Health but also time-lagged by one day.

The government dashboard records 11 deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test between November 12-18 and a total of 128 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.

As of Monday (November 16) there were 82 Covid patients at William Harvey Hospital and QEQM Hospital combined, plus a small number in Canterbury.

Mr Scott-Clark said he hoped to see a slowing of Covid cases when the impact of lockdown becomes evident in the data.

He said: “We know the impact of going into lockdown hasn’t come out in the figures yet and some of the rises we have seen can be linked to the half-term break so we really hope to see a slowing in the growth of Covid cases right across the county. But, currently, we are seeing more outbreaks in the Kent community – especially in Thanet and Swale – and that is incredibly concerning so we need people to take action, take the restrictions seriously and follow the guidance.

“It’s really important that we protect the most at risk people among our older residents and this needs to happen now, before we reach the end of any national restrictions.

“KCC is working closely with Thanet District Council, Swale Borough Councils and other partners including the NHS and Public Health England to manage and respond to the Covid pandemic.

“We will ensure the public are kept fully informed as plans for the county, post national lockdown, are established. People need to realise though that we probably won’t be leaving lockdown on the same level that we entered it because of the recent increase in cases. We will continue to investigate the figures over the coming weeks and will be discussing the latest picture for Kent with central Government and local partners.

“We know that Kent’s hospitals are getting busier – not just from Covid cases but because of normal winter pressures – so we need to help the NHS too and 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. “

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Covid measures

Kent County Council is  also working with partners towards a local Test and Trace system which will be aligned to and support the current NHS national system and is expected to be in place by the end of November.

The Kent Local Tracing Partnership will continue to be an element of the national one and will use Kent Together helpline call handlers to contact people that the Government Test and Trace system has not been able to reach.

The authority is also planning and liaising with the Department of Health and Social Care regarding supplies of Lateral Flow Devices.

Mr Scott-Clark said: “Targeted wider 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.”

Kent Public Health data says the sensitivity of RT-PCR testing methodology is reportedly poor and has been estimated to give false-negative rates between 2% and 29% of the time.

Covid tier levels could be ‘strengthened’ when national ‘lockdown’ ends


  1. This is unbelievable and incompetent. Why arent the kent PH directorate doing something to deal with the false positive results yet parroting baseless projections about xmas.awnsering my own question, i bet they have never visited thanet since September or have a medical stats specialist capable of doing more dispatching hospital returns to Kent…

  2. If you want to get Thanet back on track then close the schools which is where the majority of new cases are coming from.
    Every day you can read here what school had sent a year group home. It’s not rocket science.

    • You only need one positive case amongst 60 children to close that bubble and send all those children and staff home for 2 weeks. So the majority of new cases are not coming from schools at all. It’s just the tip of the iceberg when we have 507 new cases per 100,000 across Thanet. Thanet has around 140,000 residents so that’s approx 700 cases. There certainly aren’t anywhere near that many children with covid. It’s just reflective of the general upsurge in the local infections

    • It’s not just schools it’s workplaces too. Many people are continuing to go to work even though they are displaying symptoms. I know people who have been diagnosed with COVID after selfish work colleagues had symptoms, took the test but carried on working while they waited for the results but because they failed to isolate have now spread it to others in the workplace. The selfishness and stupidity of some Thanet residents is appalling.

      It’s simple, if you’ve got symptoms you don’t go to work. Don’t like wearing a face covering ?, tough, wear a mask to protect others, it’s the law and the right thing to do The selfishness of the few is what is pushing Thanet into an even worse situation.

      Local businesses need to ban people who fail to comply with wearing a mask. The local police need to be patrolling the shops, petrol stations and supermarkets issuing people with fines for non compliance. Until everyone is on the same page and pulling together in the same direction COVID wiki continue to spread and wreak havoc.

  3. Why can’t we differentiate how many of the 82 are in Ashford and how many QEQM? Lumping the data together in two areas over an hours drive between them is ridiculous. Why does the NHS do this? If we’re being battered by cases we deserve accuracy on the hospital numbers. Local cases are reported why is it so hard for Kent to report local hospital stats?

      • Thank you Kathy. Lumping east Kent all together just doesn’t give any insights and yet Thanet is riding high with stated numbers and zero context by age demographics. Without these details I fail to see how public health or TDC could even hope to make the right decision about tiering post lockdown. Why is the NHS being so foggy with numbers for Thanet?

  4. I thought face coverings were supposed to help prevent the spread?
    Even though the majority are wearing them, the figures are going up and up!

    • They don’t wear masks in each other’s homes, something that is undoubtedly still happening far too much.

    • I don’t think that face coverings do much good. During the first lockdown, most people didn’t wear face coverings, yet the infection rate (eventually) plummeted.
      Since the wearing of them was made law, the rates have gone up. Mostly, I suspect, because too many people have socially mixed too much.

  5. I’m confused, someone was telling me yesterday that students who live in Thanet went back to their university’s all over the U.K. At the end of September, they have been tested at the university and some have been positive, when their details are taken they are asked their home address, in turn their info is fed into the national data. So yes Thanet is their home address but they are living in accommodation at or near their university. Therefore if 500 students have gone from Thanet to their Uni and 300 have tested positive that 300 number is being added to Thant positive results even though they are not in THANET. Is that right or not..

  6. We have been dogged with partial data, lagging data, erroneous data and misleading data.
    Part of the problem is the ‘Not invented here’ or ‘we know best’ attitudes at so many tiers of govt,the NHS or PHE.
    All this does is create scepticism and distrust of data and the elite.The comments here are typical of this distrust.
    What you get is finger pointing and wagging at various out groups, which does nothing.
    The PH Officer for Kent is clearly out of his depth in explaining what needs to be done.Yes we need to wear masks,keep our distance and wash hands,but that is not going to stop infections at school, old peoples homes or worse still hospitals.
    if you are going to release figures do so carefully and explain them.The infection rates tell us nothing and only divide and not the community.

  7. Civil servants and public health officials must explain WHY coronavirus infection rates currently so high in Kent and what can be done about it – urgently. For example, whilst I have not been in a pub for months, I have seen no clear evidence as to why visiting a pub has been a major cause of infection, if indeed it has been. Given that these dictatorial jobs-worths are potentially ruining people’s lives, they must demonstrate much higher levels of competence than people currently believe that they have. For instance, give us a clear target as to what the rate of infection will be, at maximum, in Thanet on 16th December and what you will do to ensure that it is achieved.

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