Number battling Covid in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals falls by almost 100

Health workers wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in intensive care. In non-intensive wards, staff are only given surgical masks to wear. 

The number of patients with Covid-19 in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals has fallen (file photo) - Credit: PA

The number of people fighting coronavirus in Suffolk and north Essex's hospitals has fallen by nearly 100 in the last week, it has emerged.

Figures released by NHS England on Thursday revealed East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, was treating 180 Covid-19 patients on Tuesday.

This number has fallen from 251 a week prior.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds had 26 patients earlier this week, down from 47.

The overall number of people being treated with the virus at all three hospitals was at 206 - a significant fall from 298 the week before.

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The number is far lower than the January 19 high of 675 patients, though it remains higher than last spring's peak of 185 in April amid the first lockdown.

Critical care bed occupancy at ESNEFT has fallen to 59% over the last week, though 85% of beds at West Suffolk Hospital remain full.

Both trusts had doubled the number of critical care beds ahead of the winter surge of coronavirus - with ESENFT chief executive Nick Hulme previously warning they will remain full "for some time".

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Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Another fall in the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 is very welcome news for our whole community but the virus is still out there.

Suffolk coronavirus cases: Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, sa

Suffolk coronavirus cases: Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said people should continue to use hospital services Picture: WEST SUFFOLK NHS FOUNDATION TRUST - Credit: Archant

"We still need everyone to keep following the hands, face, space guidance, even after they have received the vaccine."

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said he was pleased to hear the number of Covid-19 patients had fallen - but warned now was not the time to lift restrictions.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk, has warned the start of the pandemic was

Dr Dan Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP - Credit: Archant

He said: "The news that the number of patients with Covid in both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has fallen over the last week is very encouraging, but that said, there still remains a long way to go.

"We have come such a long way in the fight against coronavirus, particularly with the successful rollout of the vaccination programme, but if we were to relax restrictions too soon, we would very quickly find ourselves back at square one with infection rates rising again, alongside increased hospital admissions and deaths.

"Current restrictions will need to remain in place for several weeks to come."

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