Six coronavirus-related deaths at Colchester Hospital so far in October

Suffolk covid cases: 25 people have died with Covid-19 at Colchester Hospital between October 15 and November 1, according...

Suffolk covid cases: 25 people have died with Covid-19 at Colchester Hospital between October 15 and November 1, according to NHS data Picture: HOLLY HUME - Credit: Archant

Six people have died with coronavirus at Colchester Hospital since mid-October - the first Covid-related deaths in more than two months.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, said the trust is prepared for the winter Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, said the trust is prepared for the winter Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

According to NHS England data, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) reported a Covid-related death in Colchester on October 15, which was its first since July 31.

Since then, five more people in the care of the trust, which also manages Ipswich, Felixstowe and Aldeburgh hospitals, have died with Covid-19.

ESNEFT has confirmed all of the deaths so far in October were at Colchester Hospital as coronavirus infection rates in Essex continue to rise.

In mid-October, Essex County Council wrote to the government asking to be placed under harsher measures under the new three-tier system in a bid to combat the virus.

This request was granted later that week, meaning Essex residents were forbidden from meeting people they do not live with in an indoor setting.

MORE: Coronavirus infection rates rise – check the latest numbers in your area

In contrast, the infection rate for Suffolk remains below the national average and the county remains in the first tier, suggesting there is a ‘medium’ risk of spreading Covid.

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Suffolk has reported 4,618 cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, with the figure for Essex at 11,434.

With infection rates rising, ESNEFT has confirmed visiting restrictions to its hospitals remain in place - with patients only allowed a single guest for 45 minutes a day.

A spokesman said: “This is a precautionary safety measure. It is part of our infection control plans and is also in response to the rising number of cases of Covid-19 in the community.”

Despite the rise, ESNEFT chief executive Nick Hulme previously allayed fears of hospitals in Suffolk and Essex becoming overwhelmed and urged people to follow government guidance.

He said: “Although the numbers of people with Covid-19 are increasing in our communities, if you compare them with other areas they are still significantly lower than the rest of the country.

“We cannot be complacent though. It’s so important that we all continue to stick to the national safety advice and wash our hands, cover our face and make space.

“Our challenge and commitment at ESNEFT now is to maintain as much elective and outpatient work as possible going into the winter. We will continue to do that for as long as we possibly can.”

MORE: Latest coronavirus data shows slight rise in hospital admissions

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