Health chief urges people to get vaccinated amid case rise

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, said people needed to be sensible when meeting

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, said the county is seeing increases in Covid case rates - Credit: Archant

People in Suffolk yet to have the Covid vaccine are being "strongly encouraged" to do so by the county's health chief amid a rise in case rates. 

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, urged people to get vaccinated after latest figures revealed Ipswich has the third highest case rate in the country - up from 709.7 to 861.2, with 1,171 new cases.

Nationally, coronavirus deaths have risen to their highest daily level since early March, while cases are at their highest for almost three months.

The government said it is keeping a "very close eye" on the increasing case rates after a leading scientific advisor warned it is "critical" that the Covid-19 booster programme is accelerated.

While hospital admissions and deaths in the UK are slowly creeping up, vaccines are still working well overall to prevent severe disease.

Downing Street said the government was "not complacent" about rising coronavirus cases but added the level of hospital admissions and deaths were "an order of magnitude lower" compared to earlier in the pandemic.

Mr Keeble encouraged vaccinations and also urged people eligible for a Covid-19 booster to take up the offer when they could. 

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"Although Ipswich has the highest case rate, we are seeing increases across most of Suffolk," he said. 

"The largest increases continue to be in our 0-19 year olds but rates are now increasing among parents, as well as the over 60s.

"This is disrupting education for our children, due to high numbers of children needing to self-isolate for 10 days, as well as leading to increases in the number of people within our hospitals with Covid-19. 

"I would strongly encourage anyone who has yet to have their vaccine to do so and for those eligible for a booster to take up the offer when the time comes; immunisation gives us greater protection against the virus."

The syringe is filled with the Covid-19 vaccine at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Pict

More than a third of adults in their 30s in Ipswich have yet to get a Covid jab, new figures have revealed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

He added that local authorities have "limited powers" to enforce Covid restrictions following rises in case rates and have to work within government guidelines. 

"The government has outlined through its Plan B winter plan that where Covid rates impact on the NHS delivery further national actions may be taken to mitigate the impact," Mr Keeble said.

"We would need to work within these guidelines to keep people in Suffolk safe."