High Ipswich case numbers 'not surprising' but not key issue, MPs say

There are fewer people out in the second lockdown - but it is not shopping that is thought to be dri

A number of Ipswich MSOAs reported more than 100 coronavirus cases in the week to December 27 - Credit: Charlotte Bond

More than 1,800 new Covid cases have been reported in Ipswich in a week, with one area of the town reporting the highest infection rates in Suffolk. 

Many Ipswich postcodes have seen more than 100 new coronavirus cases in seven days, with the highest number of new weekly cases reported in central Ipswich. 

Government figures for the week up to December 27 have been broken down into postcodes called Middle-layer Super Output Areas (MSOA). 

The MSOA with the highest Covid-19 case rate in Suffolk is Priory Heath, with 1,647.2 cases per 100,000 people. 

The rising cases are "not surprising" say the town's MPs adding Ipswich was in a "drastically different position" to this time last year.

Ipswich Central had 161 new cases in the seven days to December 27, which was 30 more than the week prior. 

Gipping and Chantry Park saw a bigger increase, with 153 new cases reported - 58 more than the week before.

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Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: "Bearing in mind the transmissibility of Omicron and the national level data it's not surprising to see high case numbers locally. 

"Of course, we'd like to see case numbers as low as possible but we are in a dramatically different position this year compared to last due to the successful vaccination rollout. The key issue is not case numbers. 

"I'm encouraged by the evidence that shows getting a booster offers strong protection from serious illness when it comes to Omicron and that Omicron appears to be a milder strain of the virus compared to others. 

"As I've stated before, I'm pleased that no further restrictions have been introduced since the plan B measures." 

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, agreed that the key issue was not case numbers, rather hospital admissions which he said had "not increased to a level of concern in our local hospitals". 

He added: "This is mainly because a high number of people in Suffolk have now been triple-vaccinated and the people needing hospital care tend to be those who are unvaccinated or people who have not received their booster vaccinations. 

"What we don't yet know is whether or not increased mingling with older and more vulnerable family members over the Christmas period may increase those who become more unwell and require hospital care. 

"The situation continues to move quickly and needs to be kept under review. My main current concern is about staff shortages in our hospitals due to staff self-isolating and being off sick and the impact this may have upon patient care. 

"So it is important to continue to be careful when spending time with older relatives and also for people to ensure they have all the vaccinations that are available."