The number of new coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall has fallen in the previous seven days to the lowest weekly total since the start of October.

A total of 1,047 new cases have been confirmed across the two counties – the lowest since the week ending October 2.

But while cases are falling in most areas, Exeter, the South Hams, and West Devon have seen very small rises – the latter two from very low levels of cases – while Torridge’s figures have risen up significantly, although skewed slightly by a high level of backdating.

Government statistics show that 1,047 new cases have been confirmed across the region in the past seven days in both pillar 1 data from tests carried out by the NHS and pillar 2 data from commercial partners, compared to 1,266 new cases confirmed last week.

Of the 1,047 new cases confirmed since November 27, 146 were in Cornwall, 149 in East Devon, 149 in Exeter, 51 in Mid Devon, 95 in North Devon, 165 in Plymouth, 38 in South Hams, 48 in Teignbridge, 67 in Torbay, 94 in Torridge, and 45 in West Devon.

This compares to the 1,266 new cases confirmed between November 21 and 27, of which 232 were in Cornwall, with 180 in East Devon, 141 in Exeter, 59 in Mid Devon, 104 in North Devon, 231 in Plymouth, 33 in South Hams, 73 in Teignbridge, 119 in Torbay, 51 in Torridge and 43 in West Devon.

Of the 1,047 new cases, 756 had a specimen date between November 27 and December 3, with 120 in Cornwall, 114 in East Devon, 104 in Exeter, 40 in Mid Devon, 53 in North Devon, 119 in Plymouth, 29 in South Hams, 43 in Teignbridge, 42 in Torbay, 52 in Torridge and 40 in West Devon.

By specimen date, cases are falling in Cornwall, East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, Plymouth, Teignbridge and Torbay, with Exeter, the South Hams and West Devon flat, but a rise in Torridge.

The number of people in hospital in the South West has fallen in the last seven days, now at 826 from 938 last Friday, and there are currently 60 patients in mechanical ventilation beds, down from 67 as of last Friday.

The number of patients in hospital across Devon and Cornwall following a positive Covid-19 test has fallen in the last week – as Exeter’s Nightingale Hospital has taken in its first patients.

NHS England figures show that as of Tuesday morning (December 1), there were 255 patients across Devon and Cornwall, in hospital after a positive Covid-19 test. This compares to 272 as of November 24.

Patient numbers within hospitals in Cornwall have decreased, as they have at the Royal Devon and Exeter, Derriford Hospital and Torbay Hospital – the latter for the third week running – but there has been a rise in patient numbers at the North Devon District Hospital.

And the Nightingale Hospital in Exeter has taken in its first patients, with 20 occupying beds as of Tuesday, having opened on Thursday, November 26.

The figures show there were 101 patients in the Royal Devon and Exeter (down from 128), 45 in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth (down from 53), 28 in Torbay Hospital (down from 35), 37 in North Devon District Hospital (up from 29), five at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (down from nine), six in Cornish Partnership Trust hospitals (unchanged), while 12 beds at Livewell SouthWest facilities in Plymouth (up from 11) and one bed at Devon Partnership Trust facilities (unchanged) were also occupied, as well as the 20 patients at the Nightingale.

And the number of patients in Mechanical Ventilation beds has fallen as well, dropping from 21 down from 19, with two patients in Torbay Hospital, five at the RD&E, and six North Devon District Hospital and at Derriford Hospital, with none in Cornwall.

The figures show the amount of patients in hospital following a positive COVID-19 test who are currently occupying a bed.

But not every patient would necessarily have been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19, with a number of patients either contracting the virus inside the hospital, or being admitted for unrelated reasons but subsequently testing positive asymptotically when given routine tests.

In the last week, there 22 deaths within hospitals in Devon and Cornwall within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 death, with ten in Exeter, three in Torbay, eight in Plymouth, one in North Devon, and one in Cornwall.

And while NHS 111 data for Cornwall is slightly up on last week, Devon is down by 10 per cent, and the R-Rate for the South West fallen to 0.7-1.0 from 0.9-1.1

In terms of the latest MSOA cluster maps, that cover the period of specimen dates between November 23 and November 29, Budleigh Salterton (24) and Wonford and St Loye’s (29), are the only areas with a cluster of 20 or more, while Bude and Stratton (17), Pinhoe and Whipton North (16), Barnstaple Sticklepath (17), Barnstaple South (16), Bideford South and East (18) and Holsworthy, Bradworthy & Welcombe (17) have more than 15.

Bradninch, Silverton & Thorverton (7), Ford & Blockhouse Park (14), Woolwell & Lee Mill (9), Starcross & Exminster (10), Ellacombe (11), Tavistock (10) are the areas in the other districts with the highest cluster numbers.

But while cases have fallen in most age groups, they’ve risen in people aged over 80.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon (Designate), said: “While it’s really good news that overall cases are falling, the continued rise in cases in the over 80s is still a concern for us. It is therefore absolutely vital that we do our bit to continue to drive down rates in Devon.

“Please follow the Tier 2 guidance. Do not meet up indoors with anyone who is not in your household or in your bubble. And please remember at all times, keep your distance, wear your face coverings when you’re indoors in a public space, and please wash your hands regularly.”

The COVID-19 cases are identified by taking specimens from people and sending these specimens to laboratories around the UK to be tested. If the test is positive, this is a referred to as a lab-confirmed case.

Confirmed positive cases are matched to ONS geographical area codes using the home postcode of the person tested.

Cases received from laboratories by 12.30am are included in the counts published that day. While there may have been new cases of coronavirus confirmed or people having tested positive, those test results either yet to reach PHE for adding to the dataset or were not received in time for the latest daily figures to be published.