Ipswich's Covid rate among highest in England after 45% rise in cases

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere warns the government has not reacted quickly enough t

Ipswich has one of the highest Covid infection rates in England (file photo) - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The Covid rate in Ipswich is among the highest in England after recording almost 1,000 new infections in a week.

Data for the week up to October 8 has revealed the infection rate in the borough was at 707.5 cases per 100,000 people.

It is understood this rate is the highest it has been than at any point before in the pandemic.

However, the number of people in hospital with the virus remains far below the peak of the crisis in January this year.

Latest government figures have shown Ipswich's town has recorded 962 new cases in the last week, up from 661 the week before.

This has seen its infection rate rise by just over 45%.

Babergh, East Suffolk and West Suffolk have all recorded a rise in infection rate, with Mid Suffolk the only district in the county to report a fall.

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Despite the rise in cases, there has been no noticeable increase in the number of patients admitted to Suffolk's hospitals with Covid.

At East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, there were 24 people being treated for the virus in the week up to October 5.

At West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, there were 17 Covid patients in the same timeframe.

On January 18 this year, there were more than 700 patients being treated between the trusts' hospitals for Covid.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, did not believe the rise is a "cause for alarm" as he suspected the infections are being identified in schools and in young people.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said he would undertake the unconscious bi

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said he would undertake the unconscious bias training if it were offered to him. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

He said: "I'm not overly concerned by the spike at this moment. We know most of the infections are among younger people who tend not to be badly affected by the virus.

"I know there have been two or three schools in Ipswich which have seen a rise in cases. As we know children can come into contact with the wulnerable, it's important they go and have their boosters.

"There will be periods in the winter that we will see spikes. For the moment, I don't think this spike is any cause for alarm. But this is a situation we have to keep under review."

Martin Seymour, deputy director of public health for Suffolk, added: "It is concerning to see such an increase in Covid rates in Ipswich.

"The increase is seen mostly in children and young people, especially in the 10-14 years age band, although we are also seeing increases among people aged 40 to 44. This is a very timely reminder that Covid is sadly still with us.

"We are urging people who live in the town to carry on doing those things that we know keep us safe. Remember to carry your mask in your pocket again, and wear it in indoor public spaces and busy places, or keep your distance.

"If you haven’t had both vaccines, or have been prompted to book your booster jab, please make sure you do the right thing.

"We know what works well - now is the time to once again think about our safety and those around us."

Enhanced Covid measures have been put in place at Kesgrave High School, East Point Academy in Lowestoft, St Mary's Church of England School in Hadleigh, East Bergholt High School, Thurston Community College and St Albans in Ipswich currently. 

Last week the county council announced it would be asking schools to send siblings of Covid positive pupils home where it was concerned about the number of cases.