Cookies information uses cookies to make the site simpler. Find out more about the cookies we use.

Close banner

Exeter designated Enhanced Response Area due to high levels of Covid-19

Published: 31 August 2021

Exeter designated Enhanced Response Area due to high levels of Covid-19 Exeter designated Enhanced Response Area

Public Health Devon has welcomed the county’s escalation to becoming an 'Enhanced Response Area' to help combat rising cases of Covid-19.

The current high Covid rates in Devon is adding to pressures on the health and care system, due to increased numbers of patients in hospital with Covid-19 and the number of staff off because they or a close family member has the virus.

Devon’s health and care system is currently under severe pressure, and the additional support being provided under the Enhanced Response Area to combat the spread of Covid-19 is welcome.

Everyone across the county can play a part in reducing transmission and the impact the virus is having on health and care services.

On behalf of the NHS in Devon, Dr Paul Johnson, Clinical Chair of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We still need to take Covid seriously. Many people who are very ill in our hospitals with Covid are not fully vaccinated and some of them are young adults.

“Most people here in Devon will have friends or family who work in the health and care system, and you know how hard they have been working throughout the pandemic and how tired they are.

“You can help them by choosing the right service for your needs, only using Emergency Departments for emergencies, getting vaccinated, having both jabs if you’re eligible, social distancing and maintaining good hygiene.”

We urge everyone to follow current public health advice to:

  • Have both vaccinations when you are eligible
  • Test regularly and isolate if you have symptoms or test positive
  • Follow social distancing and wear face coverings indoors in public places
  • Maintain good hygiene including hand washing
  • Meet people outside or in well ventilated areas

Additionally, you can support the NHS and local care providers by:

  • Keeping the Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency) for emergencies. If your condition isn’t an emergency, choose a different service. You may have to be prepared to wait a bit longer for treatment if it isn’t urgent.
  • Using your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as insect bites, ear ache, skin rashes.
  • Using the HANDi paediatric app for advice on common childhood illnesses
  • Using NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly and can’t wait to see your GP. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
  • Collecting friends or family members from hospital as soon as possible when they are ready to leave. It means their bed can be given to someone who needs it.

Devon’s Director of Public Health Steve Brown said: “We welcome the announcement that Devon and the South West is designated as an enhanced response area.

“This means that the government has prioritised the ‘far’ South West for additional support to reduce case rates.  It doesn’t mean another local lockdown, but it does mean that authorities across the south west have more flexibility to introduce additional public health measures if considered necessary, to those in other parts of the country.

“Case rates here in Devon are very high, especially in our late teens and younger adults, which is to be expected since the removal of restrictions, the opening up of opportunities to socialise, and our popularity as a major visitor destination.

“The availability of testing in the county is good, and the vaccination take up across all of the priority groups has been very high.

“However, the impact of coronavirus is being felt hard across the entire health and social care system, with those services struggling to cope with demand and workforce pressures.”

He added: “We are working across boundaries with our neighbouring authorities, Public Health England and NHS Devon partners, to monitor data, respond to outbreaks, and provide public health guidance to our residents.

“We will now continue to work with them and the government to see what else can be done to reduce Devon’s case rate.

“In the meantime, we ask all Devon residents and visitors to the county to take extra caution.”

Public Health Devon is urging people to:

  • Limit your social contacts to stop the virus spreading
  • Meet others outside, because that’s safer than meeting inside
  • Continue to wear face coverings when indoors in public places
  • Wash your hands properly and regularly
  • Have the jab if you are an adult and haven’t yet had it. Please have both doses as soon as you can. If you’re aged 16 to 18, please take up the vaccination when offered to you
  • Self-isolate if told to do so by NHS Test and Trace
  • Self-isolate and arranging a PCR test if you show any symptoms of having the virus – the high temperature, new and continuous cough, or change of your usual sense of taste or smell

Share this page on...