Is Suffolk still on Medium alert for Covid?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
As local politicians call for resilience to combat rising coronavirus cases in Suffolk, here is all you need to know about the current situation.
Which tier is Suffolk in?
Despite having rising cases in almost all areas of Suffolk, the county remains in the lowest tier of the three-tier system, Tier 1 (or Medium).
Under Tier 1, the existing coronavirus restrictions enforced before the three-tier system was introduced remain in force, including the Rule of Six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
Many local authorities in Suffolk remain among some of the lowest in the country for weekly coronavirus infections, although other areas such as Ipswich and Mid Suffolk, have moved higher in the daily charts, with an outbreak also reported on the Moreton Hall Estate in Bury St Edmunds.
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What are the current infection rates?
The latest data, made available on October 29, lists the number of new cases recorded in the seven days up to October 26.
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Ipswich saw 131 new cases of coronavirus recorded in the seven days, up from 94 new cases in the seven days leading up to October 19. That puts the weekly rate of cases per 100,000 to 95.68 – a significant increase from the previous week’s rate of 68.66.
The highest case rate in the county is in West Suffolk, where the seven-day rate reached 103.88, up from 65.35 the week before. A warning has been issued for Moreton Hall by West Suffolk Council, following a spike in cases.
Other areas of Suffolk are lower, with Babergh’s figure standing at 94.53, Mid Suffolk at 51.01 and East Suffolk at 55.32.
All rates however have risen considerably compared to the beginning of the month, with Ipswich’s figure standing at 12.4 in the week ending October 1. The highest rate at that time was in West Suffolk, at 24.6.
Some areas of Essex, which are under Tier 2 (or High), are recording lower case rates than in Suffolk, namely Braintree and Maldon – where rates stand at 50.5 and 60.1 respectively.
What would cause the lockdown tier to increase?
There have been no signs to indicate that the government nor local authorities are planning on moving Suffolk up a tier.
Case rates are, however, higher in some areas than when Essex requested to move up from Tier 1 to Tier 2 earlier this month.
When Essex County Council requested for the county to be placed under Tier 2 restrictions, Tendring had the highest case rate in the county at 81.9 for the week ending October 10. At the same time, Nottingham, at Tier 2, had recorded a rate of 880.4.
There are areas across the UK with higher rates than Suffolk which remain under Tier 1, for example Breckland in Norfolk, where the latest rate stands at 172.2, or Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – which stands at a much higher 200.1.
Suffolk’s leaders have vowed to be transparent over any potential moves from Tier 1 to Tier 2 and have stressed that remaining under Medium sanctions gives the county the best chances of economic recovery.
The government continues to be in talks with local authorities at risk of moving up a tier, although as it stands Suffolk will continue to be under Tier 1 restrictions.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said he believes the town is a “long way” off being moved into a higher tier.