How Suffolk's current Covid figures compare to November 2020 lockdown

Coronavirus infection rates have risen in Suffolk and Essex Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

How do Suffolk's Covid rates compare to the autumn lockdown last year? - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Twelve months ago, Suffolk was preparing to enter a month-long national lockdown in a bid to protect the NHS from a possible surge in Covid patients.

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus on a daily basis is now far higher than last autumn, but there are currently no suggestions of a new lockdown being introduced.

On October 31 last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined plans for a second lockdown, starting on November 5 — saying "we’ve got to be humble in the face of nature".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second nationwide lockdown last October

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second nationwide lockdown last October - Credit: PA

But with Suffolk currently experiencing high rates of Covid, how does the situation compare with the same time a year ago? We have looked at the data:

What is the difference in Suffolk's infection rate?

The overall infection rate in Suffolk was 77.5 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to October 27 last year after 577 new infections were reported in a week.

This figure would plateau throughout the next few weeks before rising in the build-up to Christmas, reaching 152.1 cases per 100,000 people on December 19.

The surge would later see Suffolk placed into lockdown-style Tier 4 measures from Boxing Day.

But the rates seen last autumn and winter are in stark contrast to the figures reported in Suffolk in recent weeks.

Ipswich Hospital has changed its visiting rules amid the surge in coronavirus cases Picture: SARAH L

Ipswich Hospital, which is managed by ESNEFT, has seen hundreds of Covid patients throughout the pandemic - Credit: Archant

Most Read

For the week up to October 27, Suffolk's infection rate was 528.3 cases per 100,000 people — with 3,917 new infections recorded in seven days.

Ipswich's Covid rate was, at one point in October, the highest in England, though this has started to fall in the last week.

How many people are in hospital?

The hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex were starting to prepare for a second wave of Covid patients last October ahead of the lockdown.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, was treating 53 virus patients on October 26, 2020.

The trust that manages West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds had 11 patients in its care on the same day.

This number would start to rise significantly over the winter before peaking in mid-January, when the trusts had more than 700 virus patients combined.

The hospital numbers this autumn are lower than January's peak, with ESNEFT treating 82 Covid patients and West Suffolk Hospital caring for 35 people respectively on October 26.

However, the overall number of Covid patients in the region has risen by a third in a week — prompting hospitals to temporarily suspend visiting rules.

How many people are dying with Covid?

In the build-up to the second lockdown, the number of people dying within 28 days of a positive test in Suffolk was mercifully low — with only three deaths recorded in the week up to October 27 last year.

The death toll started to rise towards the middle of November before falling slightly, but it then surged amid the start of the third lockdown in January.

This year, there have been 12 deaths recorded in seven days up to October 27 this year — but there has not been any significant rise in the last few weeks.

How many people have had the vaccine?

Raymond Wray, 81, made history when he became the first person to receive the Pfizer Covid vaccine in the Suffolk and North East Essex CCG region on December 9 last year.

Nurse Hayley Kirk. The first Ipswich covid vaccinations are being administered at Two Rivers Medical

A second coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. Pictured: the first Covid-19 vaccines being administered by Nurse Hayley Kirk at Two Rivers Medical Centre, Ipswich. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Since then, Suffolk has stormed ahead with its inoculation drive — with Saxmundham becoming the most-vaccinated neighbourhood in England in early March.

Overall, Suffolk has administered a total of 1,123,011 first and second doses of the vaccine in a bid to protect the county's residents from Covid.

What are the latest developments in Suffolk?

At the request of the local outbreak engagement board, Suffolk is to receive additional support from the government after the county was made an Enhanced Response Area.

This means, for five weeks, Suffolk will get extra help with volunteer recruitment, surge testing and communications, with enhanced measures in schools also set to be introduced after the half-term break.

Crucially, the move also allows for the fast-tracking of decisions to central government.

Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter has recently suggested certain measures like mandatory face masks could be reintroduced in the winter if case numbers were to surge.

Dr Dan Poulter MP. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Dr Dan Poulter MP. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

The East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star newspapers have launched the 'Grab the Jab' campaign in the last week, encouraging people to get their vaccines to protect the NHS.