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Statement on coronavirus cases in Ashford

Published : 15/05/2020

Many will have seen press reports this week highlighting government figures showing that Ashford has the third highest infection rate for Coronavirus in England, with nearly 493 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.

At first glance this may be alarming news but look beyond the headlines and a different picture emerges. First – and this is key – these are confirmed cases, not deaths.

Of course this is a dynamic situation and the numbers change frequently as the recording and reporting catches up with daily developments. It is also important to note that the council has daily contact with the Kent Resilience Forum and Public Health England and neither have flagged up any abnormalities with Ashford’s rates of confirmed cases or fatalities.

There are many factors which contribute to the rate of confirmed cases in any particular area – one of the key ones is testing and the fact that we have so many confirmed cases in the borough is a testament to the effectiveness of a testing regime that has been ongoing since the start of the pandemic in March.

The William Harvey Hospital has been testing its staff from early on and with many of these workers living locally it has had an obvious impact on the statistics. Ashford has also hosted a mobile testing centre in recent weeks.

A spokesman for Ashford Borough Council said: “We are aware of the reports and have been in contact with Public Health England, KCC Public Health and other partners to discuss the situation and get a better understanding of the factors contributing to the statistics.

“We have been advised that there are many different factors that can affect the infection rate of the virus in a particular area. These could include the age and density of the population, number of hospitals and care homes, and the levels of testing both in the community and hospital.

“Ashford has been at the forefront of testing for COVID-19, something which the Government is keen to encourage, and testing remains a vital weapon in our battle against the pandemic.”

Please note: The figures quoted are cumulative over the period that testing has been carried out, and do not reflect the current number of ‘live’ confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Ashford borough.

More information on the data is available online.