Spike in cases among the over-60s could be behind Ipswich virus rise

Coronavirus case rates in Ipswich are continuing to rise. PICTURE: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A rise in the coronavirus infection rate in Ipswich could be due to a spike among the over-60s - Credit: Archant

A surge in coronavirus cases recorded in Ipswich could be due to a rapid rate of infection among the over-60s, figures show.

Suffolk’s county town has a much higher rate of cases in people aged 60 and over compared with the England average, and the rest of the region, Public Health England data has shown.

In the week to December 4, there were 243.7 Covid cases per 100,000 people in Ipswich’s older population. 

That is compared with a rate of 139.8 per 100,000 in under-60s, and is more than double the England average for this date of 112.3. 

In comparison, no other local authority area in Suffolk recorded a rate among the over-60s higher than 100.

The figures are mostly in line with the infection rate among people aged up to 59, although both West Suffolk and Mid Suffolk recorded a lower infection rate among their over-60s compared to younger people.

In Mid Suffolk, the rate for the over-60s stood at 46 per 100,000 compared to 50.5 per 100,00 among the younger population. In West Suffolk, the difference was greater at 46 per 100,000 and 53.4 per 100,000 respectively.

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In terms of deaths, 12 people living in care homes died countywide in the same week after testing positive for the virus, taking the total number of care home residents who have died in Suffolk to 234.

According to the latest data, made available by the government, the Rushmere area of Ipswich currently has the highest infection rate in the county.

The data, which covers infections among all age groups, shows Rushmere recorded a rate of 431.6 cases per 100,000 in the week to December 5 - or 35 new cases.

In the same seven days, Suffolk as a whole only recorded a rate of 79.2 per 100,000.

Stuart Keeble, director of Public Health for Suffolk, said: “Cases across Ipswich have been rising recently in all corners of the Ipswich community, and the virus will transmit to the more vulnerable, those with underlying health conditions and older people.

 “We are working every day with local partners to get messages out into the community – that people must stop the spread of the virus by following social distancing, wearing a mask and regularly washing hands.

"Suffolk is not immune to the virus, we must protect older and more vulnerable people, and ultimately our hospitals, by following these rules.”

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