Virus death toll in Suffolk tops 640 as cases continue to rise
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Suffolk's coronavirus problems are "incredibly serious" after figures revealed more than 640 people have died locally, county council leader Matthew Hicks has said.
Mr Hicks' comments come after the coronavirus infection rate in the county rose to 169 cases per 100,000, while deaths are now beginning to rise again.
According to the latest government statistics, 36 people who had contracted the virus in Suffolk died in the week ending December 17.
In the previous week, 34 deaths had been recorded in the county across all settings.
Coronavirus-related deaths began rising in the county again in November, with previous months - such as September - having recorded next to zero deaths.
Death figures are not currently as high as those seen in the first wave of the pandemic, however.
In total, 641 people in Suffolk have died after contracting the disease as of December 17. In terms of cases, 9,925 people have tested positive for the virus in the county.
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In terms of the current situations in the region's hospitals, 55 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus at West Suffolk hospitals, two of whom are on ventilators.
A combined 185 people are being cared for by Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Of those 185, 12 are on ventilators.
Mr Hicks, who also chairs the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said the county must work together to combat the upward trend.
He said: “The situation in Suffolk is incredibly serious.
“The acceleration in the growth of cases is a very worrying trend.
"In Suffolk, we fully anticipate being moved into Tier 3, and maybe even Tier 4 to align with other East of England counties. We await the government’s decision on the next tier review.
“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of making sure you follow the guidance. This is the opportunity for everyone to stop and reset the way they live. We must work together to reverse this growth trend.
“Ultimately, we can decrease the spread of the virus by limiting our contact with other people outside our household, keeping our distance from each other, wearing a mask and washing our hands regularly.”