More than 11,000 Covid infections in seven days as rates continue to rise across the region

A policeman wearing a mask in Ipswich town centre during the coronavirus pandemic

More than 11,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in seven days in Suffolk and north Essex - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Coronavirus infection rates are continuing to soar across Suffolk and north Essex - after more than 11,000 people tested positive over seven days.

All areas of the region saw rises over the week to January 4, with 4,049 cases being confirmed in Suffolk, according to the latest government data. In north Essex, 6,988 cases were recorded.

The Tendring area of Essex has ranked as the fourth most rapidly rising place in England, figures show, while Ipswich is now nearing 700 cases per 100,000 people.

All bar one local authority area in England saw a rise in cases, with Richmond upon Thames bucking the trend.

A total of 50 areas are now recording rates higher than 1,000 cases per 100,000.

The data for the most recent four days has not been included, as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

In Ipswich, the seven-day infection rate now stands at 695.3 cases per 100,000, after 952 cases were confirmed in the borough.

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In the week previously, running up to December 28, 507 cases took the rate to 370.3 per 100,000.

The borough is the only area of Suffolk recording a rate higher than the national average, which stands at 671.9 per 100,000.

Babergh again has the second highest rate in the county, with 588 new cases in the district in the seven days to January 4 taking the rate to 638.9 cases per 100,000.

In the previous week, the rate was 393.3 per 100,000 after 362 cases were recorded.

In Mid Suffolk, the rate rose from 238.7 per 100,000 to 473.6, with almost 500 people in the district recording a positive coronavirus test. The district recorded 248 cases in the previous week.

East Suffolk recorded the highest number of new cases in the county at 1,123 – although its rate remains the lowest at 450.2 per 100,000.

The number of cases almost doubled compared to the previous week, however, with 592 cases taking the rate then to 237.3 per 100,000.

It was a similar situation again in West Suffolk, where 894 new confirmed cases took the rate to 499.3 per 100,000.

Before December, the district, alongside Mid Suffolk and East Suffolk, had consistently ranked among the lowest in England for its case rate.

Last week, the rate was 275.3 per 100,000, after 493 people tested positive.

In Essex, the rate in Tendring remains at above 1,000 per 100,000 and is continuing to climb, now higher than Braintree.

The rate in Tendring rose from 508.3 per 100,000 to 1,182.4 over the seven days, having recorded 1,733 new cases.

Braintree's figure stands at 1,157.2 per 100,000 after 1,766 people tested positive during the week.

Colchester is now nearing 1,000 cases per 100,000 – with almost 2,000 new cases of the virus taking the rate from 464.3 per 100,000 to 996.9.

The government announced the highest ever death toll during the pandemic on Friday, January 8, with 1,325 people having died within 28 days of recording a positive test.