More Covid-19 cases at Ipswich Hospital than at any time during pandemic

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester...

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Pictures: ARCHANT - Credit: Rachel Edge

More than 90 Covid-19 patients are currently receiving care at Ipswich Hospital - the highest number since the pandemic began.

Nick Hulme, CEO of East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, announced the latest figures as he made a plea for families to be sensible over the Christmas period.

Speaking on BBC Radio Suffolk, the health boss asked residents to make an “extra little sacrifice” over the next few weeks or risk being set back “potentially months” in the coronavirus picture.

He said: “On the one hand of course we welcome a relaxation of rules over Christmas. 

“But, just because we could doesn’t mean we should and what I’m asking is everybody just takes some time to have a conversation with their family, with their loved ones, with their various bubbles.

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“It’s only a couple of days of the year.

“We’ve done so well in terms of controlling the virus over the last nine or 10 months and although one can look at the numbers and look at the science, the reality is that this morning we have over 90 patients with Covid-19 in Ipswich Hospital.

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“That is a higher number even than the first surge due to more testing, and a number of those patients are asymptomatic.”

Mr Hulme yesterday voiced his concerns regarding the spread of Covid-19 over the Christmas break, saying that numbers in the US following thanksgiving were “worrying”.

Cases are also on the rise in Ipswich and eight out of the 10 highest Suffolk hotspots are now in the town.

According to new government figures, Maidenhall, Stoke and Port have seen 451 cases per 100,000 people during the seven days up to November 24.

The national average is 167.4 per 100,000 people.

Broke Hall, Westgate, Stoke Park, Gipping and Chantry Park, are also hotspots with rates about the national average.

Mr Hulme said Ipswich Hospital is currently managing to carry out most of their elective work, but that decisions are being made “minute-by-minute”.

”It would be a tragedy if we relaxed the rules too much, if we take too many risks over the Christmas period and then set us back potentially months,” he said.

“We are managing to maintain services around our elective work but it’s really tight.

“We’re so close.

“We’ve got real optimistic news around the vaccine we’re so close now to moving on, to getting back our normal lives.  

“Although we can look at the numbers and say as a county they are relatively low, is it not just worth that extra little sacrifice over the next couple of months before we get the vaccine out into those vulnerable communities just to allow us to protect ourselves, protect our loved ones and ultimately, to protect our communities?”

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