‘Deep dive’ research to examine reasons for Covid case rises in Thanet and Swale

Kent Public Health director Andrew Scoot-Clark

A “deep dive” to look at the reasons for increases in positive Covid cases in Thanet and Swale is taking place with national and regional agencies, says Kent’s director of public health Andrew Scott-Clark.

According to Kent Public Health data, rates in Thanet are currently 510.8 per 100,000 (as of November 16) and Swale is at 647, putting the two areas on the national watchlist.

Mr Scott-Clark said rising cases are mostly driven through community transmission rather than large outbreaks. As an example he said that on Sheppey outbreaks at two care homes and a significant number of prison cases still only account for 20% of the total numbers.

But he said the rise is being experienced across the county, albeit at different rates, and Thanet and Swale “are not the only areas we are concerned about.”

He said: “We are working hard with partners across the patch to ensure we understand what’s going on. We spent a lot of time before the lockdown in conversations about the potential of moving up a tier level in some of our areas.

“I think lockdown came at absolutely the right time as we could see this wave of increases coming.”

He added: “We are doing more work in those areas with higher rates and there is a deep dive with PHE (Public Health England) colleagues, local and regional, for Swale and Thanet to understand what’s going on.”

Mr Scott-Clark said the initial rise in cases was most evident in the 16-24 year old age group but this has now spread to older groups and rates have gone up across the working age population. He also agreed that deprivation was likely a factor with postcode data supporting this, particularly in areas with greater numbers of key workers, those on low incomes and households containing multi-generational families.

However, current data reflects the situation two to three weeks ago, meaning the impact of the second lockdown will not be evident in the statistics until Christmas time.

He added: “We need everybody to behave.”

He said coming out of lockdown on December 2 could see tighter tier restrictions in Kent. He said: “We know that Kent and many districts are in a different position in terms of the number of cases per 100,000. Currently two boroughs are on the national watch list. There is a lot of discussion centrally about what the tiers may look like coming out of lockdown.”

He added: “We should know by the end of next week or early the week after what level we might come out at. There is a view, not confirmed but likely, that upper tier authorities will go in a level as a whole.”

Talking of preparations for mass testing Mr Scott-Clark said the Army would not be taking charge of the programme as it did in Liverpool due to operational pressures.

Asymptomatic testing, using Lateral Flow rather than PCR tests, will initially target the areas with the highest prevalence of cases – currently Thanet and Swale. Lateral Flow Tests give results in 30 minutes.

Mr Scott-Clark said first priority Covid vaccinations, once the drugs have been approved, would be for staff and residents in care homes as they are the “most vulnerable to Covid-19.” He said the programme would be a “huge logistical exercise.”

The vaccination will require two doses at 21 to 28 days apart.

A local Test and Trace programme is being finalised with call handler staff coming to the end of their training. Public Health England is expected to give the go-ahead on Monday for the programme to be put into action with a launch date of November 26.

Mr Scott-Clark said all hospital trusts in Kent and Medway were currently “running hot” but he was unable to confirm how many Covid patients are being treated at individual hospitals.

On Monday (November 16) the figure stood at 82 Covid patients at William Harvey Hospital and QEQM Hospital combined plus a very small number at Canterbury.

Covid data is updated daily, although there is time lag on some statistics. It can be found on the government dashboard here and here and the KCC page here

Find an interactive map for neighbourhood data at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map


  1. Hate to be that one and only really speaking for where I live in Thanet which won’t need mentioning but you’ll all know anyway but a major problem I see is the groups of foreigners 10+ at times and if not the groups the gatherings at home they throw never see them with masks or social distancing, I see the ‘COVID cops’ disburse a group at the top of my road for them al to be back no more than ten minutes later

    • Phew!! What a relief! Nobody had blamed “the foreigners” or “the immigrants” for absolutely minutes!
      It just wouldn’t be Brexit Britain without those “other” people getting blamed for everything that ails us.
      It was well known that the crowds of drinkers at Wetherspoons throughout the country pre-lockdown were all from the EU, or muslims, or …..something different , anyway.

  2. Now we have Covid testing centres locally obviously more local people are being tested so it is not surprising that the numbers have gone up. We probably had quite a few before too but we just did not know about them. Would be interesting to know what % of Thanet’s population are actually using Track and Trace, or more importantly self-isolating if told they should?

  3. People are there own worst enemy. Keep apart, don’t mix with other people from other areas and have them staying the weekends together with them. Only go out for essentials, keep yourself away from other people and it wouldn’t be a problem. But the idiots can’t do that, so suffer the consequences, get Covid.

  4. Crav390, your major problem is that you are blaming one group of people and don’t seem to understand that Covid-19 does not discriminate. Last time I looked at the Covid map the area of Newington’s C-19 contraction rates were the highest in Thanet which suggests your observations are based on prejudice rather than facts.

      • More testing = more positives tests. Not that the tests are worth the paper they’re printed on. Completely unsuitable for virus detection. And where are all the dead people? No excess mortality. The susceptible will die as they do every winter. SARScovid2 is endemic now and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Best remove all restrictions and let people get on with their lives.

  5. Emmeline , I personally asked the question at the meeting this morning. I was also amazed he did not give a direct answer. We need less secrecy in Kent County council

    • Barry, the hospital cases, along with the figures for how many people are using the Dreamland and Manston testing centres needs to be announced as having a correlation that can be checked is very important indeed.

  6. The figures are calculated by the address given by the person having the test which gives you the area for area numbers of covid – 19 suffering people and non suffering people not the hospital. Hospitals are given the total of patients. I agree with Claire that the figures on where the highest cases of c-19 are in the Newington area as of the last printed figures, but if people continue to gather in groups the chances are the majority of them will catch COVID-19 regardless of their nationality. The chances are December will bring tougher restrictions on the community, will they bring about change in how the risk takers go about I doubt it maybe a few fines given out would be of more use in bringing about changes in their attitudes??.

  7. Come on we know why rates have gone up, just check out supermarkets car parks, people seem to be behaving as though its normal times, all I do is go for a drive with husband who I care for, just a change of scenery and some fresh air where there is no one else so never meet up with anyone.

  8. Thanet and Swale have a high percentage COVID deniers who do not follow the government’s advice and regulations. Thanet and Swale have too many work shy dope smokers, alcoholics, far right AND far left numpties who simply don’t believe in COVID or just don’t care about the consequences of their selfish actions.

    The vast majority of Thanet and Swales residents are at the mercy of ignorant COVID deniers. The same people who deny COVID exists are the same fools who believe in a flat earth and are gullible enough to believe all the conspiracy theories on the internet.

    • I don’t think there are many who deny covid exists , the arguments arise as to how serious is it in reality, it is going to be of little concern to the vast majority of the population, those who are likely to suffer a bit more have had six months to alter lifestyles to improve their response to it. The remaining minority need to be shielded and the vast majority of those should be able to do that for themselves. Which leaves a small number that society should be looking after. So many ,myself included, feel the reaction has been totally overblown.
      I’ll stay away from people and wear a mask in shops and on public transport , but it seems absolutely pointless given the significant numbers who just do as they please and can do so with no fear of any sanction.
      To many people , again myself included, the inability of people to look at the numbers and see the real level of risk, the inability to look at their lifestyles and so something to reduce their risk factors and instead expect that they be able to live as they please and have the state provide a zero risk world for them to live in . Is just plain daft and selfish. The effects of the reaction to covid will do far more damage to society in the long run than is necessary and could be much reduced with a bit of sensible thinking and behaviour.

  9. The promenade behind Queens Court in Cliftonville constantly busy. What lock down??? Groups of youngsters in groups of 10-39. Never seen a warden up here. Foreign men who hold one nostril then blow out their snot from other nostril onto the prom. No wonder virus so bad. Groups with no masks. I see this everyday. Lockdown?? What lockdown?? Stay safe folks

  10. Forget foriengners I know for a fact that people from outside thanet are enjoying lockdown in their holiday homes and Kent police will not do anything about it. Why government are taking so much time to decide what we will be allowed to do at Christmas is beyond me as an awful lot of people are doing just as they please anyway. We may have our own opinions as to what is the right thing to do but out of respect for others we should do as we have been asked to.

    • Minnis bay past 3 weekends totally full with people car parking spaces full majority not locals easy to tell also loads of motor homes so yes I agree, wonder what the gov response would be if all of thanet and swale went to London this weekend, militar comes to mind

    • Totally agree Birchington Minnis Bay past 3 weekends since lockdown 2 full with daytrippers and motor homes front totally full. Wonder how Gov would react to all of Thanet and Swale depending on London this weekend, massive fines come to mind

  11. To put this into perspective testing is showing 0.51 of the Thanet population is showing a positive result? BUT I hear that every test is counted as a new case, even if the same person gets tested every day for a week. And some in the medical profession are saying why are we testing well people. People who may test positive but feel well and may not be infectious. And there are numerous reports on the false positives in testing, and a Portuguese court has just deemed the PCR tests unreliable. Lockdowns are killing more than the virus itself as many are highlighting. How may have died of purely covid in Thanet in the last month with no secondary conditions, and what was their age range? Time for an informed debate. A living death is no life.

    • More than 50000 people have died of C19. How many have died directly as a consequence of lockdown?
      How many would have died of C19 had lockdown never been imposed?
      Do you suppose world governments are (with few exceptions) following the lockdown strategy for a laugh? Is it just possible that public heath scientists the world over know just a bit more about the situation than either you or the Daily Mail?

      • No, 50,000 have died where covid was a factor, how many would have survived if they had looked after themselves better, how much is the country going to spend on “ long covid” . Like the USA we are disproportionately fat , unfit and have a poor diet , and like the USA we have had a lot of fatalities. There was a much publicised case in thanet where it was said there were no underlying health conditions yet the person in question was morbidly obese. Just as first time round nhs workers weren’t tested to avoid having to send them home to isolate. Increased testing is obviously going to find more cases. If the statistics and narrative are so blatantly twisted and some basic underlying factors ignored because it might upset people. Then its no surprise there are those that question whats being done.

        • I think we all question what’s being done, because it plainly isn’t working. Infection and death rates are going up. School infections are going up.
          But the government is hinting that we might have a “normal” Christmas, even though to do so would most certainly need another month of lockdown.
          It’s really good that some people are questioning what’s being done.

  12. What even the Daily Mail is saying today: “What they DON’T tell you about Covid: Fewer beds taken up than last year, deaths a fraction of the grim forecasts, 95% of fatalities had underlying causes… and how coronavirus facts can be twisted to strike fear in our hearts.”

    • If you have an open mind you can read many media articles and use your own discernment. I used to call it the Daily Fail but proper old fashioned journalist Ross Clark has number crunched over the last few weeks and looked at the stats in detail as his article shows. Throw away negative remarks where clearly no research has been done contribute nothing at all….strange waste of energy.

  13. Supermarket shopping trolleys are spreading the virus! If someone has the virus and they go into a store, even if they disinfect their hands first, and five minutes later cough, into their hand which is what most people do, they then replace their hands back on the trolley handle, infecting it! They then replace the trolley, and the next person to use it will get infected!

    I have been trying to bring this to the attention of various statutory authorities since last April, and the only reply I received was from a local government Environmental Manager, who said when the current rules were concocted the government omitted to make it compulsory for stores to clean the handles of trolleys after every use, duuurh! In fact none of the rules can compel anyone to stop infecting someone else this way, well done Boris, another fine mess you got us into!

    • Did you see boris outside number 10 talking to Priti Patel on the news last night . This is the man who is supposed to be isolating

    • It’s not beyond the wit of man (or woman) for shoppers to take a bit of kitchen roll and a bottle of gel and do their own sanitizing of their own trolley or basket.
      And, after leaving each shop, slather their hands with more gel.
      Job done.

  14. There are people with other illnesses in life probably far worse than covid, life is stressful enough, don’t blame people for trying to get by and cope, nobody is perfect and far from it, I’d rather go out the way I wanna go out not the way other expect me to follow I’m not that dumb! Whose selfish the experts or the immortal beings who believe there’s no light at the end of the tunnel!

  15. There’s a lot of talk about “opening up the economy” as if it has closed down.
    But, in fact, the vast majority of workers are carrying on with their work.
    Factories and offices are still functioning, either because they can work from home, or because they can carry on in the factory by keeping a safe distance and use sanitizer. Building sites are clattering and banging away as before.
    It is the “leisure ” industry ie pubs, bars , hotels and restaurants that are closed and suffering. And clothes shops.
    But they are not the whole economy. (In fact, I would be very worried if they WERE a big slice of the economy! We would really be in trouble then!)
    When I think of my extended family of brothers and sisters, in laws and their families etc I can only think of two who are having to work from home. The others are either retired anyway, or they are going into work as before. They are insurance and bank and building society workers, carpenters, a hairdresser etc. Only one was , briefly, on furlough but the job picked up.
    I am making the point that we can exaggerate the damage being done by lockdown by concentrating on leisure and retail and forgetting manufacturing, agriculture, construction and financial services. Not to mention people who work in public services and transport.
    The people who are really suffering are the thousands who were on low pay in the leisure industry anyway and who seem to be allowed to “fall through the cracks” of our threadbare welfare system and get left with nothing, despite all the talk of government help etc .
    So, when we examine where the risky transmissions occur, shouldn’t we look at what millions of people are doing everyday, and it’s not hanging around street corners being loudly foreign, it is going to work as usual!!

    So we don’t need to “relax” Covid restrictions to “open up the economy”. Because, with some exceptions that need more attention, the economy is already opened up.

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