We will be living with the coronavirus until such time as we have a vaccine and whilst we must all remain vigilant we do need to understand that in spite of our increased population, due to the many visitors we have in Devon, we still have one of the lowest rates of infection in the entire country.

Last week I visited our Covid-19 testing facility in Barnstaple which is currently at the far end of the leisure centre car park. I am delighted the site is back in Barnstaple and urge anyone with symptoms to get tested as soon as possible.

If you cannot book your test via https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test you can call 119. 

Devon continues to have very low levels of infection and is ranked 149/150 regionally. In the past 7 days there have been just 4 cases in the whole county. It is now more than a month since overnight visitors have been welcomed back to Devon and it is thanks to the excellent social distancing measures introduced by our tourism and hospitality sector and other local businesses, as well as residents and visitors alike, in the main, following the guidance that cases remain so low.

There have been 26 deaths in Northern Devon and just 122 confirmed cases in North Devon throughout the pandemic.

I know we have a higher than normal number of visitors this year, and many are anxious about how busy some areas are.  Outside transmission remains incredibly rare, with initial studies suggesting less than one in two thousand cases are transmitted outdoors.  Nationally there are currently 6 cases per 100,000 people.  In Devon its currently 1.2 cases per 100,000 people, so you need to pass nearly 100,000 people, to even pass someone carrying the virus, and then would have to be in close contact for a number of minutes to contract it.

I very much hope such ongoing low levels of the virus locally will help everyone feel more confident about going to support our local businesses. Inevitably whilst we are living with the coronavirus, there will be outbreaks, but we are very fortunate that here in Devon we have an excellent Local Outbreak Management Plan prepared by our County Council. You can view all the information about the coronavirus in Devon here: https://www.devon.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-in-devon/

We really are very well prepared here in North Devon. We have a very low level of infection, and all cases are being tracked effectively, our Nightingale is ready if needed, and hopefully it won’t, we have indeed planned for the worst whilst hoping for the best as we move into the new normal.

Please remember to keep washing your hands, wear a face covering inside as required and keep your distance! #HandsFaceSpace

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon

10th August 2020