A rise in the covid rates in Thanet over the last recorded seven days is due to increased cases relating to houses of multiple occupation and residential and workplace settings in Newington, Margate Central, Nethercourt and Sir Moses Montefiore wards, according to data shared with county councillors today (February 26).
Thanet has seen a rise in the seven day rolling rate to 86 per 100,000 people as of February 21– which is up from 68.3 for the previous seven days (up to February 14). However, the rate is still far below those recorded on December 20 which stood at 639 per 100,000.
The current rate means Thanet has the highest positive rate in Kent and has crept above the south east average of 80 per 100,000. The rate for Kent is 60.9 and for England is 117.
A presentation to county council members said: “Over the past week COVID-19 rates appear to be levelling off in Kent and Medway, however, there has been a small rise in Thanet and Dover. As the number of cases decline, there is likely to be further variation in rates
“East Kent Hospitals Trust has seen a rise in hospital cases. This may be the result of changes in the way cases are being identified and further work is under way to explore this, however, this increase may also relate to the small rise in rates seen in Dover and Thanet.”
For Thanet, 13 new positive cases were reported for today. A total of 107 positive tests were recorded between February 20-26. This number is actually a decrease of 9% on the previous seven days (February 13-19).
As of February 16 there were 145 patients in east Kent hospitals being treated for covid and 22 of those were on mechanical ventilation.
Thanet has recorded 464 deaths where covid is mentioned as one of the causes on the death certificate.
But vaccinations are progressing through GP hubs and a new large scale site opened at the Saga building off Haine Road on Monday.
According to data supplied by South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay’s office some 31.7% of adults in South Thanet -equalling 31,623 residents- have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In North Thanet the figure is 30.7% – equalling 31,146 residents.
The government aim is for every adult to be offered a vaccination by the end of July.
Everyone in the top four priority groups has now been offered a vaccine and invites are now going out those in priority groups 5 to 9. The latest figures show that two thirds of those aged 65 to 69 have now been vaccinated.
Mr Mackinlay welcomed the vaccination figures and said he believes restrictions should start to be lifted sooner than the dates indicated in the government roadmap.
He said: “It’s great to see that so many people in South Thanet have received the vaccine and I would like to thank everyone involved in this world-leading effort, without whom, this would not be possible.
“The government’s vaccination plan is for most of the remaining vulnerable groups – aged 50 and upwards – to be vaccinated by mid-April but with some confidence that this will be met some weeks before. This will provide for a good level of protection for 99% of those most likely to suffer the gravest effects of the infection and makes a significant opening up sensible and credible.
“While the Government’s roadmap is a good start, I think we can now be more ambitious and start to lift legal restrictions sooner still, perhaps by Easter where sensible and credible.
“We must never forget the other negative and serious health and societal effects that lockdowns bring. A moribund economy cannot finance the services that we want and need.”
However, County Councillor Karen Constantine says the upward trend of Thanet’s covid rates is concerning and people should remain vigilant.
She said: “It’s very concerning to see that the Thanet remains an outlier in Kent and that the Covid figures are increasing. We need to see these figures coming down. It’s notable that there are social issues driving the continuing increase in Covid numbers. This is due to homes of multiple occupation, workplace transmission and higher rates in particular wards across Thanet.
“We need to ensure that local employers are doing everything they can do to minimise transmission of the Covid virus.
“I’m hearing very positive feedback about the Saga vaccination centre located at Westwood and people are getting vaccinated locally at their GPs. I remain concerned at the plans for a return to school by our children and young people, knowing that they are vectors for infection, this could drive a further increase.
“We all remain very worried about Covid. However it is extremely reassuring that a high percentage of the most elderly and clinically vulnerable have received a vaccine. We still need to remain vigilant, follow the rules and bring down the infection rates, and to take the vaccination when it’s offered.
“Going forward we know that the NHS as a whole is facing a mountain of unmet need, and we need to work towards the mammoth task of getting the NHS on the path back to normality. The numbers of those waiting for an operation, and waiting for over a year, has skyrocketed from 2,000 to 200,000.
“What we need now is to get the transmission rate down and to ensure there is realistic financial plan for the whole NHS. A robust recovery plan to meet the growing waiting list, a workforce plan to support traumatised, tired staff and to give them a break, and a serious plan to deal with the vast rise in mental health conditions caused by the COVID pandemic. “Mental health Trusts and services will need to be resourced at a much higher level than they currently are.
“These plans, and the budget requirement to implement them, are not yet in place. The NHS senior managers and our local MPs need to urgently address these pressing issues.”
Fellow county councillor Barry Lewis reiterated the need to stay vigilant, saying: “The Thanet rates are a reminder that we should still be cautious, including people who have been vaccinated. Keep covid safe and keep safe distancing. The battle against covid is not yet won.”
Among those to receive vaccinations is district councillor for Birchington George Kup.
His vaccine was administered by the dedicated team working at Minster Surgery.
George has been given his vaccination now because he falls under the category of adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group due to having type one diabetes and asthma.
Following his vaccination George said:“As the Government has now announced plans to start getting life back to a level of normality, we all have to play our part to ensure that Britain can keep to the ‘Road Map’.
“I feel the most important part we can play individually to ensure that this is achieved is to have the vaccine as soon it is offered to us. I have had many conversations with constituents, family members, and friends, and some have raised concerns and uncertainty about having the vaccine.
“Unfortunately, there are those that wish to spread false information about having the vaccination. I believe that all of the serious questions have been answered and that we have a duty to help to protect others as well as ourselves by helping to reduce the spread of infection in this way.
“With my own medical conditions, I have had to be cautious when entering shops or even going for a walk. I often felt very anxious when I saw a lot of people in shops or walking past me and by finally being offered and taking the vaccine it has started to remove that element of hesitation and anxiety, meaning that, while still taking all the necessary precautions, I do not have unnecessary stress when doing what I classed before the pandemic as very simple tasks.
“Of course we all want to be able to hug our loved ones, go on holiday, or even do something as simple as having a drink with friends in the pub, and all of this will be possible sooner if those that can, get vaccinated. For the first time in nearly a year we all have something to look forward to; we really can now see light at the end of the tunnel.
“I want to thank all staff of the NHS, especially at Minster Surgery, for such a professional and well thought out process which has led to the, so far, great success of the vaccine roll out.
“If we want the ‘Road Map’ to have no speed bumps or potholes as we take this journey, then when you can, get vaccinated.”
Across the UK some 19 million first doses of vaccine have now been administered, Following the completion of Phase One of vaccinations (groups aged 50 and above) the roll out will then be based on age rather than occupation groups and will be:
all those aged 40 to 49 years
all those aged 30 to 39 years
all those aged 18 to 29 years
For more information on the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination in Kent and Medway, visit www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/covid19vaccine.