Coronavirus: List of ‘extremely vulnerable’ swells to 35,000 in Suffolk

A man wears a face mask in Bolton Lane, Ipswich. Picture : SARAH LUCY BROWN

A man wears a face mask in Bolton Lane, Ipswich. Picture : SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The number of people classed as “extremely vulnerable” to Covid-19 in Suffolk has risen to 35,000 - meaning nearly one in 20 people in Suffolk is now believed to be at high risk.

The latest rise, of around 13,000 in a single week, means 4.5% of Suffolk’s total estimated population of 761,350 is now classed as being at greater danger from the illness.

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The government created its social shielding list as the pandemic took hold earlier this year, to identify those most in need of protection from the virus and extra support in terms of food parcels.

People on the list receive an NHS letter and text message telling them: “Do not leave your house,” for fear they might become infected - a restriction that remains in place until the end of June, regardless of the status of the UK-wide lockdown.

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Its original list, based on NHS data, included those with specific medical conditions, which put them at greater risk from Covid-19 – such as those with breathing problems, cancer patients and pregnant women.

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However, GPs have since been adding names to the list of patients they believe also qualify but were not originally included.

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Having started with about 10,000 people on the original list in Suffolk, the number grew to 22,000 in the county last week.

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Now, that figure has grown to more than 35,000, with 6,322 shielding residents in Ipswich.

Around 6,000 people in Suffolk are receiving government food parcels to ensure they have enough supplies, particularly if the restrictions mean they cannot go out to get food.

In Ipswich, 172 food parcels have been delivered since April 2.

Ipswich Borough Council’s latest coronavirus update said: “Data continues to be sent through from government to Suffolk County Council on the residents who are part of the ‘shielding group’.

“The Suffolk list has increased to over 35,000 in Suffolk as the NHS continues to update the list (in total now at over 2million across the nation) and within Ipswich the number is 6,322 shielding residents.

“The county, districts and boroughs have been proactive in contacting shielding residents that had not responded to the original NHS letter to enquire whether urgent support was required.

“Last week the Home, But Not Alone postcard was sent to all households.”

Suffolk councils have also established a system for the collection and delivery of prescriptions with the NHS and transport providers, aimed at patients unable to collect themselves or without friends and family to collect on their behalf.

Callers’ details via the Home, But Not Alone number are passed on to the community transport provider, which collects the medicines and deliver them.

Ipswich Borough Council has have received 49 requests relating to collection and delivery of medicines since April 20.

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