Six of the worst 12 coronavirus infection rates in the country for people aged over 60 are places in Kent – a potentially damning blow to the county’s chances of being taken out of Tier 3.
Thanet is doing surprisingly well containing infection among its younger population, ranked tenth of 13 areas in Kent among that age group.
Infection rates among the over 60s are a key test of an area’s handling of the virus – and one of five criteria Government looks at when deciding Tier allocations for each area.
This is because the virus is spreading in older people it leads to more hospital admissions and therefore pressure on the NHS, as well as more fatalities.
The government’s recent coronavirus impact assessment said: “As with many other diseases, COVID-19 has a more severe impact on vulnerable groups, including older people.
“Allowing the virus to grow exponentially would lead to impacts, in terms of loss of life and ill health, that would be considered intolerable for society.”
Yesterday (December 14) Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced London, Hertfordshire and parts of Essex would be placed into Tier 3 two days early as coronavirus cases surged.
It is understood Kent will be allocated its Tier as a whole county because it shares hospital capacity, with west and east Kent hospitals already under pressure having taken patients from the north of the county.
Sometimes a place with record high cases will not be placed under Tier 3 because figures show it is mostly young people testing positive, who don’t typically get seriously unwell.
But once the virus starts spilling out to grandparents or care home residents, it becomes a bigger threat.
Below is a breakdown of total cases and for those aged over 60 in the last recorded week, between December 3 and December 9, as well as the latest infection rate among over-60s as of December 9, expressed per 100,000 people.
|Area||Total COVID-19 cases||Over 60s cases||Over 60s infection rate|
|6. Folkestone & Hythe||466||102||288.1|
|8. Tunbridge Wells||301||73||245.9|
|11. Tonbridge & Malling||500||63||195.1|
England’s worst infection rates among over 60s
|Area||Over 60s infection rate|
|3. Oadby & Wigston||401.5|