Feb 072022


Case levels in Devon remain high (1,235 per 100,000 of population) and above the national average (1,069 per 100,000 of population) across all age groups, but especially among young people. Cases are currently highest in the Exeter area.

You can reduce risk to yourself and others by:

  • Taking up the vaccine and booster when you are eligible
  • Testing yourself regularly with rapid lateral flow device test, when showing no symptoms, especially if you know you’ll be in a high risk setting, eg visiting older relatives. And take a PCR test if you show symptoms
  • Self-isolating immediately if you test positive
  • Choosing to wear a face covering when indoors in confined spaces with other people

Pandemic is not over yet, warns Head of Immunisation

The latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reinforce the importance of having the booster jab.

They report that around six months after a second dose, protection against death with the now dominant Omicron variant was around 60 per cent in those aged 50 and over.

But this increased to around 95 per cent, two weeks after receiving a booster vaccine dose.

The latest data shows continuing high levels of protection against hospitalisation from the booster.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

“The evidence is clear – the vaccine helps to protect us all against the effects of COVID-19 and the booster is offering high levels of protection from hospitalisation and death in the most vulnerable members of our society.

“The pandemic is not over yet and the vaccine is the best way to increase your protection against the serious consequences of this virus – please book your appointment for your first, second or third vaccine without delay.”

You can book your appointment for first, second, and booster vaccinations online.

Or find your nearest walk-in centre to have the vaccination without an appointment.

“One thing is for sure, to increase our chances of not catching the virus, or at least help reduce the severity of illness if you do catch it, we must be up to date with our vaccinations, and follow sensible public health precautions.”

Omicron variant has significantly increased reinfection rates

Those familiar with the phrase ‘lightning never strikes the same place twice’ might also know that is not true. The same can be said with coronavirus.

The UKHSA this week has started publishing ‘reinfection’ data – data that until now wasn’t available because individuals testing positive on two separate occasions were reported just once.

But now, if you test positive twice, over 90 days apart, this will be counted as two separate infections.

The new data shows the difference between the currently dominant Omicron variant and earlier strains of coronavirus. Where reinfection rates averaged around 1.4 per cent of cases until 16 November 2021, we’ve since seen a spike in infections with Omicron, with reinfections representing around 10 per cent of episodes per day.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, says:

“What the data demonstrates is just how different the Omicron variant is in its ability to reinfect people who have already had coronavirus,”