Covid infections 'still far too high' in Ipswich despite lockdown fall
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
A fall in coronavirus cases in Ipswich has been welcomed - but infection rates "are still far too high", the town's council leader has warned.
Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said the high case rate, while improving, shows that: "We must stick with the rules."
Coronavirus cases have been falling across all of Suffolk, with Ipswich recording a rate of 352 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up until January 25.
That is a sizeable drop from the 463.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up until January 18.
However, health leaders like Stuart Keeble, Suffolk's director of public health, have warned that case levels are still "very high" - and much higher even than when Suffolk was under strict Tier 4 level rules.
Mr Ellesmere said: “The good news is that Covid-19 cases in Ipswich are now falling but the rates are still far too high and Ipswich Hospital remains under huge pressure."
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Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) - which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - said said there had been a "slight" decrease in Covid admissions.
However, coronavirus-related deaths at Suffolk's hospitals are their highest levels since the pandemic began. At ESNEFT alone, 130 people died between January 18 and January 25.
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Mr Ellesmere added: “This week the prime minister has announced that the lockdown will go on for many more weeks and that schools won’t re-open until at least March 8.
"Even then, restrictions are only likely to be lifted gradually and only then if things continue to move in the right direction.
“So we must continue to stick with the rules and stay at home at all times except for the small number of allowed reasons.
"We must continue to regularly wash our hands, wear a face covering and keep two metres apart from other people.
"This is the fastest way we can help beat this horrible virus."
Mr Ellesmere added that the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine would be "key to our long-term exit from restrictions".
He said the opening of jab sites, such as Gainsborough Sports Centre, should enable the delivery of the vaccine to ramp up.
He also stressed that there is financial support available to residents and businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis.