How Suffolk's current Covid cases compare to November 2020 lockdown
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Suffolk has been receiving extra support to tackle high Covid rates this November — but how do the figures compare with the second lockdown 12 months ago?
What are the infection rates in Suffolk?
The infection rates in Suffolk in last November's lockdown pale in comparison to the figures this year.
For the week up to November 19, 2020, West Suffolk had the lowest case rate in the whole of England at just 52 cases per 100,000 people — with East Suffolk and West Suffolk joint-third from bottom at 63.7.
Babergh's rate was 117.3, while Ipswich had Suffolk's highest figure at 127.1.
In stark contrast, West Suffolk had the highest coronavirus infection rate in the county with 456.3 per 100,000 people for the week up to November 19 this year.
Babergh's rate was 373.1, Mid Suffolk reported a rate of 359.5 and East Suffolk had a figure of 350.7.
Ipswich, which at one point in October this year had the highest infection rate in England, reported a figure of 340.5.
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How many people are testing positive?
Suffolk had reported a total of 609 Covid cases in the week up to November 19 last year — but there were 2,873 new infections reported in the seven days up to the same date in 2021.
This means there were nearly five times as many cases reported for that week in 2021, compared to during the lockdown in 2020.
How many people have been vaccinated?
There were no vaccines available last November. But ever since the rollout started in December 2020, health bosses have been pressing ahead with the drive to get residents their Covid jabs.
In the most recent available data, up to November 21, 1,138,073 doses of the Covid vaccine had been distributed so far in Suffolk.
The rollout of the third or booster jabs is now underway, but the government has not yet released data on how many of these doses have been administered in Suffolk.
At the end of last month The East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star newspapers launched the 'Grab the Jab' campaign, encouraging people to get their vaccines to protect the NHS.
How may people are in hospital?
The most recent data, up to November 16, revealed there were 66 patients being treated for Covid by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.
At West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, there were 28 patients on the same day.
But on November 16 last year, ESNEFT had 89 patients and West Suffolk Hospital had 22.
The number of Covid hospital patients are not drastically different between this November and last, however admissions started to rise in the first few weeks of December 2020.
How many people are dying with Covid?
The number of people dying with Covid this year is not drastically higher than in the middle of the second lockdown last year.
For the week up to November 13, 2020, there were 17 deaths in Suffolk within 28 days of a positive Covid test.
But for the seven days up to November 12 this year — the days are not directly comparable as government figures are reported weekly — there were 21 deaths.
There was a surge in Covid deaths in Suffolk in December last year towards the middle of January, but the vaccine rollout had only just started by that point.
Vaccine expert Peter Horby, chairman of the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), said the jabs "weakened the link" between being infected with the disease and death.
What is being done to tackle high Covid rates?
Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the nation "we’ve got to be humble in the face of nature" as he announced plans to introduce a second lockdown.
The intention was to ease pressure on the NHS ahead of what was already looking like a challenging winter for hospitals.
This year, there have been no day-to-day restrictions enforced in Suffolk or elsewhere.
However, Suffolk was made an Enhanced Response Area (ERA) at the start of November — meaning extra support was brought in due to high infection rates.
The ERA meant the county has received help with volunteer recruitment, surge testing and communications, with enhanced measures in schools being introduced after the half-term break.