What is the coronavirus 'growth rate' in your area?

What lockdown rules are still in place? Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The R number, also known as the growth rate, for coronavirus has risen over recent months - Credit: Archant

The number of coronavirus infections has been rising steadily - but what is the "growth rate" for Covid-19 where you live?

As the majority of lockdown restrictions were lifted on so-called "freedom day", the number of cases have been going up - with some Ipswich nightclubs forced to postpone their reopening dates as staff self-isolate.

Case rates have more than doubled in a week in some areas, with a rate of 377 cases per 100,000 people reported in Babergh in the week to July 15 - up from 140.2 per 100,000 the week previously.

That number continues to be reflected in the R rate, also known as the growth rate, which is the number of others that one infected person will pass the disease onto.

If the R number is below 1.0, it means the spread of the illness is slowing.


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However, any value above 1.0 is a cause for concern, because those who are infected are passing it on to more people - who in turn are also infecting others.

It is not possible to be precise about the figure, because it changes depending on people's behaviour or because the level of immunity they have alters.

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There is also not an R rate figure published for Suffolk or Essex - instead, the figure covers the East of England as a whole.

That means the figure is influenced by what is happening in other counties, such as Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

The government's website adds: "These estimates represent the transmission of Covid-19 two to three weeks ago, due to the time delay between someone being infected, developing symptoms, and needing healthcare."

At the start of March, the R rate in Anglia had fallen to 0.6 and 0.8 - meaning that every 10 people infected were passing it on to between six and eight other people.

By the end of May, the East Anglia rate rose to between 0.9 and 1.1, as the government's roadmap out of lockdown permitted more social mixing.

The R number in the East of England rose further in June, to between 1.1 and 1.4.

It is now between 1.2 and 1.5, which is slightly higher than the England average.

Hospital admissions are also now rising and Suffolk has seen its first hospital deaths linked to Covid for several months.

West Suffolk Hospital has recorded two coronavirus-related deaths in the past 10 days, after more than four months without a single death connected to the illness being reported.

 

A death of a patient with Covid was reported at East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, on July 18 - the first since May. 

On July 4, ESNEFT and West Suffolk Hospital combined had just four coronavirus patients. By July 13, this had risen to 15. 

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