'Wear a mask' plea as coronavirus infections continue to rise
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
"Think of others and wear a mask" - that is the plea from health leaders as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Suffolk.
Data released on Tuesday showed the case rate in Ipswich rose to 261.5 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 27, compared with 225.7 cases per 100,000 a week earlier.
The last four days of data are not included in the calculations, due to likely fluctuations in the statistics.
Ipswich was the only district in Suffolk to see the Covid rate increase, with every other area seeing a small decrease in the same time period.
Most notably, Babergh went from 229.3 cases per 100,000 people to 188 cases per 100,000 in the same timeframe.
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It is a similar story in Essex, where most districts saw case rates fall - apart from Maldon and Colchester.
But thousands of pupils are due to return to schools this week after the summer holidays, prompting fears that infection rates will rise.
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Experts say it it will be crucial to see whether any growth in cases translates into an increase in hospital admissions and deaths.
As a result, a Suffolk Public Health spokesman has urged people to consider wearing face masks, even though it is not a government requirement to do so.
“Many people have stopped wearing masks - that is their right and their choice, as there is now no longer any legal obligation to do so," the spokesman said.
“However this pandemic is far from over, the virus is still very much out there.
"We would encourage people to think of others and wear a mask when engaging with the public in venues such as pubs, shops, or doctors’ surgeries, or when using something like public transport.
“Please remember that wearing a mask is chiefly not to protect yourself but to prevent potentially passing on Covid-19 to others, should you have it and not realise.”