The vaccination programme being rolled out across Tunbridge Wells appears highly effective in the fight to protect the NHS and keep people out of hospital, analysis by the Times shows.
When the virus was at its peak in January there were more than 600 positive tests a week, with 230 hospital admissions and more than 60 deaths being recorded every seven days.
Last week in Tunbridge Wells cases nearly reached 500 over a seven-day period, but there were just 20 admissions to hospitals over the week and only two deaths were recorded for the whole of July.
The figures show the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 was nearing the same levels recorded in the area during the peak of the second wave earlier this year.
Tunbridge Wells saw its highest levels of infections in the seven days to January 4, when the Kent variant, later renamed Alpha, plunged Tunbridge Wells into Tier 4 – the highest level of restrictions, which forced pubs and restaurants to close.
More than 693 people had tested positive in the borough that week, and days later the Prime Minister ordered another national lockdown as the variant caused a second wave across the UK.
Six months on, and figures released from Public Health England show Tunbridge Wells approaching similar levels due to the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India and is now causing a third wave across the UK.
In the seven days to July 18, on the day before the Prime Minister lifted final lockdown restrictions such as mandatory mask wearing, 474 people in the Borough had tested positive for the virus – nearly double the number of cases from the previous week, when 253 had tested positive.
Similar figures were being seen in Wealden (566 cases) and Tonbridge & Malling (716 cases).
Following the final lifting of restrictions on July 19, it was expected rates of the virus will rise even further as the effects of no social distancing begin to show.
But Tunbridge Wells, as with many areas of the country is now seeing a slight dip in the number of positive cases, which have falled to 425, although health officials say it is too soon for the data to show that we have reached the peak.
Despite high levels of infection, hospital admissions from Covid-19 remain well below the levels seen during the second wave.
In January’s peak, Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [MTW] was admitting around more than 200 people a week with Covid-19 to its two hospitals in Pembury and Maidstone.
Deaths were also at their peak, with 62 people succumbing to the virus in Tunbridge Wells during the seven days to January 4.
Thanks to the vaccine roll out, for figures for the seven days to July 18 MTW admitted just 20 people with Covid-19 – a fraction of the numbers seen in January.
The Trust has recorded two deaths in July from Covid-19, but these were the first fatalities in three months.
It comes as figures show that around 82,000 people in Tunbridge Wells – 85 per cent of the adult population – have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than 64,000 [68 per cent] of people having had both jabs.
Paula Wilkins, Chief Nurse at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Covid-19 vaccine is available to everyone over 18 and we really encourage people to have it; it remains the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and anyone who is vulnerable.”
She continued: “Everyone should now have their second dose eight weeks after their first.”
Vaccinations Photo: © Pojoslaw/dreamstime.com