Covid infection rates nearly double in parts of Suffolk over Christmas period

Police, Trading Standards and Ipswich Borough Council took to the streets of Ipswich on Wednesday 22

The latest coronavirus infection rates for Suffolk and north Essex have been revealed (stock image) - Credit: Archant

Coronavirus infection rates have almost doubled in a week in some areas of Suffolk and north Essex, latest public health data has revealed.

Both Ipswich and Mid Suffolk saw a sharp increase in Covid-19 case numbers over the Christmas period, although rates for both areas remain below the England average.

Suffolk's county town recorded 615 Covid-19 infections in the week to December 29 (equivalent to 449.2 per 100,000 people), up from 391 the previous week (285.5 per 100,000).

Meanwhile, Mid Suffolk had 313 cases (301.2 per 100,000) in that time, up from 191 (183.8 per 100,000) the week before.

All areas of the county recorded an increase in infections over the festive period with more steady rises in Babergh, West Suffolk and East Suffolk.

Although initial numbers indicate a rise, scientists say the true impact of the festivities and increased social mixing is unlikely to be seen until later this month.

Overall 2,587 people tested positive for the virus in Suffolk between December 23 and 29, up 42% from 1,818 cases the week before.

It comes as hospital admissions surge with hundreds of people with the virus occupying the county's NHS beds.

All hopes are being pinned on the vaccine programme due to be accelerated from Monday.

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In a New Year message, Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks warned we are at a "critical point" in our fight against the virus and urged people to not give up now.

"With the new vaccines, there is reason to be hopeful for 2021," he added.

“The steps we take now are critical. Suffolk needs you to play your part and do all we can to keep ourselves and our friends, family and neighbours safe.”

In north Essex, the latest numbers show every single district recorded a coronavirus infection rate higher than the national average of 467.6 per 100,000.

The virus is growing fastest in areas such as Tendring where case numbers have soared, going from 520 in the week to December 22 to 911 over the festive period, bringing its rate up to 621.6 infections per 100,000.

Slower increases have been recorded across Maldon, Uttlesford and Braintree, where case rates are now almost double the England average.

Colchester has the lowest rate of infection in north Essex with 576.2 per 100,000 but this is up on the previous week's rate of 405.2 but again tops the national benchmark.