Covid rate in Ipswich among highest in England with 100 new cases a day

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Ipswich's Covid rate is among the highest in England, government data has revealed - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Ipswich's Covid infection rate is now among the highest in England after recording an average of nearly 100 cases a day, new figures show.

However, admissions at hospitals remain low compared to a month ago, despite a rise in cases in Ipswich and other districts in Suffolk.

Babergh, West Suffolk and Mid Suffolk have all reported an increase in infection rate, while East Suffolk has seen a fall.

Government data up to October 3 has revealed the seven-day infection rate in Ipswich was at 513.3 cases per 100,000 people, which was the highest figure in East Anglia.

The rise comes after there were 698 new cases reported in the town in the same timeframe.

The Belstead Hills area of Ipswich has seen a surge of cases in recent weeks, with the infection rate for the neighbourhood peaking at 1,429.5 cases per 100,000 people at the end of September.

Public health figures and community leaders linked the rise to the return of students to classrooms of nearby schools.

Kettering, in Northamptonshire, has England's highest Covid rate at 876.6 cases per 100,000 people, with several other districts in the Midlands also reporting higher rates than Ipswich.

The surge in infection rate has not been reflected in the number of patients being treated with Covid at hospital.

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East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, was treating 24 patients with the virus as of October 5.

In comparison, the trust had 55 Covid patients four weeks earlier on September 7 - while the overall number peaked at 550 on January 18 this year.

In response to the rise in case numbers, Public Health England has expanded its guidelines on children isolating if a sibling tests positive.

Any siblings of children aged four to 18, who have tested positive for Covid, must now stay at home for three days.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk's director of public health, said last week: "Although we are making significant progress in weakening the link between infection and serious illness; through the vaccination programme, Covid-19 is still present.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk's director of public health - Credit: Archant

"We of course want young people in school, but the rate of infection is increasing resulting in more children having to self-isolate, missing vital education for a sustained period."