Coronavirus infection rates in Devon are now the lowest in England, latest figures have revealed.

The latest seven day rolling average for Covid-19 infection rates shows that the Devon County Council area now has England’s lowest infection rate at 84.4/100,000.

However, the number of Covid related deaths recorded in the last week is the highest it has been since the pandemic began. Of the 128 deaths, two were in West Devon. Sixty five of the deaths were in care homes, also the highest number since the start of coronavirus.

The figures, based on specimens from January 21-27, also show that at a lower tier authority level, the five places in England with the lowest infection rates are all in Devon.

Torridge (43.9/100,000) has England’s lowest infection rate, with North Devon (49.4/100,000) second, Exeter (78.4/100,000) third, South Hams (90.8/100,000) fourth and East Devon (91.6/100,000) with the fifth lowest.

Teignbridge (98.4/100,000) sits seventh lowest, with West Devon (104/100,000) ninth and Mid Devon (113/100,000) in eleventh of the 315 English local authority areas.

But Steve Brown, director of Public Health Devon, said that while cases of Covid-19 are now falling in Devon, case numbers are still much higher than they were for large parts of last year.

He said: ‘It looks like the current restrictions are having a positive impact and we are starting to see cases come down. While clearly it’s good news cases are coming down, they are still higher than in November and December, so now is not the time to drop our guard, so please stay at home and stick to the rules.’

Devon’s infection rate of 84.4/100,000 is the lowest since December 15, 2020, with cases for the two week period prior to that having been at a lower level.

Cases rates still remain highest in the over 90s age group, followed by the 30-39 year-olds, with the lowest infection rates in Devon in the 70-79 year-olds and those 0-14.

The latest ONS Covid-19 figures released last Friday revealed that the number of coronavirus cases confirmed across Devon and Cornwall had fallen by a third in the previous seven days, with declines everywhere.

A total of 2,327 new cases were confirmed across the two counties in the week long period as the total for the two counties now stood at 41,388. It is the lowest total for five weeks with Exeter and Plymouth seeing cases more than halve.

This compared to the 3,521 cases confirmed the week before.

Of the 2,327 cases confirmed since January 22, 1,005 were in Cornwall, with 152 in East Devon, 110 in Exeter, 107 in Mid Devon, 51 in North Devon, 382 in Plymouth, 80 in South Hams, 137 in Teignbridge, 211 in Torbay, 30 in Torridge and 62 in West Devon (last week there were 111).

Tavistock had the highest number of new cases in the borough with 33, followed by Hatherleigh, Exbourne & North Tawton 13, Lifton, Lamerton & Bridestowe 11, Okehampton 10, Chagford, Princetown & Dartmoor 10, Bere Alston, Buckland Monachorum & Yelverton 9.

In Callington & Pensilva there were 26 new cases, Altarnun & Stoke Climsland 15 and Gunnislake & Calstock 5