239 Covid patients in Suffolk hospitals just before Christmas

Another person has died in hospital in Suffolk and north Essex after testing positive for coronaviru

There were 239 coronavirus patients in Suffolk hospitals on December 23 - Credit: Archant

New figures have revealed that 239 patients were being treated for coronavirus in Suffolk hospitals just before Christmas. 

The figures, in Suffolk County Council’s daily coronavirus bulletin, showed the number of patients in Suffolk hospital beds as of yesterday (Wednesday, December 23), two days before Christmas. 

The bulletin added that a growth in patient numbers “puts pressure on Suffolk’s hospitals which need to protect Suffolk’s vulnerable residents whilst still treating non-Covid patients”. 

The council has described what it has called an “alarming rise” in infections in recent weeks, with a 96% rise in cases in a week labelled as a “major cause for concern across Suffolk”. 

In the last week, Mid Suffolk cases have increased by 192%, West Suffolk 176% and Babergh cases by 166%. 

Previously, Ipswich Hospital staff anonymously told this newspaper they feel they are at “breaking point” over the high number of coronavirus patients, telling patients: “We are struggling, we are drowning, and it is getting worse.  

“Please, we implore you. Keep yourselves safe.” 

Nick Hulme - chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the hospital – responded to that by reassuring people that staff are working "incredibly hard" to deliver safe care, amid "relentless" pressures affecting hospitals across the region.   

Suffolk will move into Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions from Boxing Day after health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said it was "absolutely vital" to take swift action as case numbers escalate due to a new, mutated form of the virus. 

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However, Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said the new restrictions are “our opportunity to halt the spread of the virus and enable us to move back into Tier 2”.