'Concern' as Ipswich Covid-19 rates rise above national average

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk - Credit: Archant

Concerns remain over rising Covid-19 cases in Ipswich, Suffolk's director of public health has said - after infection rates rose above the England average.

Director of public health at Suffolk County Council, Stuart Keeble expressed fears after government figures confirmed that the town was seeing more cases per 100,000 than the English average. 

East Suffolk, Mid Suffolk and West Suffolk have also seen a rise in cases in the past week, while rates in Babergh have seen little change.

Nine out of the 10 highest areas for coronavirus in Suffolk are now also in Ipswich.

Mr Keeble said: “We continue to monitor local, regional and national data to understand how the virus is spreading in Suffolk.

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“When considering the data, it is important to look at overall rates and recent trends, rather than quick snapshots in time.

"These trends continue to show that overall Suffolk has some of the country’s lowest case rates of Covid-19.

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“However, we remain concerned about some areas where numbers of positive cases are still rising, such as in Ipswich and in those who are aged over 60.

"This has a direct impact on capacity in our hospitals, which will play a part in the government’s review of the tiers across the country and their announcement of any changes on December 17.

“In the meantime, the message remains clear: we must all continue to follow social distancing, wear a mask and wash our hands regularly.

"Together we have proved that these measures do slow the spread of the virus in Suffolk.”

The latest government figures show that rates in Ipswich have risen above the England average for the first time since the second lockdown.

In the seven days up to December 6, there were 162.15 cases per 100,000 people in the town.

That is more than double the rate in the next highest Suffolk district, Babergh, which is still recovering after seeing a huge spike in cases in Hadleigh in November. 

And now, in Suffolk, nine of the 10 areas with the highest Covid-19 rates during the seven days up to December 4 were in Ipswich. 

They are: 

  1. Rushmere - 419.3
  2. Broke Hall - 362.6
  3. Belstead Hills - 201.2
  4. Sproughton, Washbrook and Hintlesham - 197.2
  5. California - 183.4
  6. Maidenhall, Stoke and Port - 174.3 
  7. Whitehouse - 157.0
  8. Westgate - 155.3
  9. Gipping and Chantry Park - 147.4
  10. Castle Hill - 142.0

Rushmere has more than double the average number of cases in England at the moment. 

Nick Hulme - chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - said: "I'm very alarmed by the rise in cases.

"It could be a reaction to the end of lockdown, although realistically it is a bit early for that.

"Over the next few weeks and months we will see a greater number of people vaccinated and a greater number of freedoms, hopefully by spring."

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