Household mixing blamed for rise in Ipswich Covid infections
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Household mixing has been blamed for rising coronavirus infection rates in Ipswich - sparking fears the town may face tougher restrictions at the end of the national lockdown.
The number of cases across the borough has continued to rise, going above the 100 cases per 100,000 population trigger for further action under local lockdown rules.
In some parts of the town, it is considerably above that – in the Gipping/Chantry area, it is 200 cases per 100,000 people, while in Whitton it is 180 cases per 100,000 people.
The figure for the whole borough is 104 cases per 100,000 people.
Officials believe this rise is now embedded in the community, as people ignore instructions to stay at home and not mix with other households.
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Crews emptying waste bins are now distributing leaflets over the next week urging people to stay at home and avoid contact with others, in a bid to bring the infection rates down.
Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said: “Public health officials are worried that the virus is now being spread by community transmission and, if that doesn’t change, then we will be looking at continuing restrictions when the current lockdown ends in December.
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“We’re heading towards the threshold for looking at possibly moving to Tier Two – and even more restrictions could come in if it continues to rise at this rate.
“That is why we are sending out this message to households. People should stay at home unless they have good reasons to go out.”
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council’s public health team backed up this message, saying: “We can’t say conclusively – but when you get several people from different addresses with the same surname testing positive, or several people from the same street then it looks like community transmission.
“This virus isn’t being spread on buses or in shops – but in people’s homes.
“The government has not said what will happen after December 2 – whether the tiers will return that were in place before or what the boundaries for further restrictions might be.”
The message going out from Ipswich council tells people to:
•Stay at home as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary journeys and work from home if you can.
•You must not leave or be outside of your home, except for specific reasons.
•You should minimise time spent outside your home and reduce the number of people you come into contact with.
Mr Ellesmere added: “Coronavirus numbers have generally been lower in Ipswich than the national average but that situation is changing and we have recently seen a large increase in local cases.
“We need to fight this upward trend. By following the rules and doing what we should we will help prevent illness and maximise the chances of the town returning to the lowest level of restrictions nationally when the national lockdown ends.
“We need to help each other – by staying at home as much as possible and remembering: Hands. Face. Space.
“We can beat coronavirus if we all pull together now – Stick With It Suffolk.”
In Suffolk as a whole, the rate is now just above 80 cases per 100,000 people.
The district with the highest level is Babergh with 128 cases per 100,000 people,
but this is linked to cases in care homes and a school in Hadleigh. There is limited community transmission in that town – and a similar alert to that in Ipswich has been issued there.