Covid patient numbers in Suffolk hospitals falls for fifth week straight

File photo dated 20/10/20 of staff on a hospital ward. The NHS is as stretched now as it was at the

Hospitals in Suffolk and Essex are treating fewer Covid patients - Credit: PA

The number of people being treated for coronavirus in hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex has fallen for a fifth consecutive week.

Figures for December 7 have revealed there were 80 patients being treated for Covid at hospitals throughout the region.

The majority of these were at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, which was caring for 69 people.


Ipswich Hospital, which is managed by ESNEFT - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

This was a slight increase from the previous week's figure of 63, but below the levels of late October and early November — where there were more than 90 patients in hospital.

West Suffolk Hospital has recently reported a large fall in the number of Covid patients, with only 11 people being treated in the most recent data.

The Bury St Edmunds hospital was caring for 24 patients just seven days earlier.

The overall total of Covid patients between ESNEFT and West Suffolk Hospital has fallen for five weeks in succession since peaking at 132 on November 2.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed earlier this week England will move to 'Plan B' Covid rules, including the introduction of vaccine passports of tighter restrictions on mask-wearing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second nationwide lockdown last October

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced 'Plan B' rules earlier this week - Credit: PA

The move comes amid fears over the Omicron variant, with more than 800 confirmed cases of the new strain in the UK so far.

Health bosses at ESNEFT have warned in-person visits may be suspended at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals if the number of virus patients starts to rise.

ESNEFT currently allows patients to have one visitor for an hour each day after they have been in hospital for at least 24 hours.

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT, said: "Our visiting policy is under constant review.

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT - Credit: ESNEFT

"If we start to see another rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions, we will have no choice but to suspend visiting again, which we do not want to do, but we all have our part to play in preventing the spread of the virus in our hospitals so we can keep visiting going."

Visits remain suspended at West Suffolk Hospital, with a review due to be held next Tuesday.