Covid rates at record high after surge in school cases

Coronavirus rates in Belstead Hills have been described as "concerning"

Coronavirus rates in Belstead Hills have been described as "concerning" - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/ Sarah Lucy Brown

An area of Ipswich has recorded the highest Covid rate seen in any part of Suffolk since the start of the pandemic as a result of rising school cases.  

There were 92 new cases of Covid reported in the Belstead Hills area of Ipswich in the week to September 29 - giving it a case rate of 1,429.5 cases per 100,000 people.  

The MSOA data, which breaks down cases by neighbourhood, shows this doubled from the previous week when there were 637 cases per 100,000 people.  

In the Stoke Park area there were 1,014.7 cases per 100,000 people with 71 new cases - the second highest rate in Suffolk for the week to September 29.  

Prior to this week the highest case rate recorded in Suffolk was in January when the rate for the Maidenhall area of Ipswich was 1,126.1 cases per 100,000 people.   

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council confirmed that the cases were largely linked to local schools. 

“For the Belstead Hills MSOA, there have been 155 Covid-19 cases with a specimen date since September 21, 2021 (to present).  

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“Of these 155 cases, 96 are directly associated with education settings (students or staff), including 62 cases at Chantry Academy, nine at Gusford Primary School and eight at East Bergholt High.” 

The rate has led to concerns for some.

"It's concerning that we have a high rate in a part of Ipswich," said Neil Macdonald, cabinet member for health at Ipswich Borough Council. 

"It shows that there is still Covid out there and people are still catching Covid. 

"People still need to be vigilant." 

The number of people being treated in hospital for Covid remains low. 

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, was caring for 24 coronavirus patients in hospital on September 28, down from 32 people seven days previously. 

This number has fallen dramatically over the past weeks - 28 days ago there were 47 inpatients.

In comparison, when case levels were high in January, there were 462 Covid patients across both hospitals.