Coronavirus: List of ‘extremely vulnerable’ in Suffolk grows to 22,000

Four more people have died in hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Four more people have died in hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The list of those believed to be “extremely vulnerable” to Covid-19 in Suffolk has grown again – meaning 22,000 people in the county are now believed to be at high risk from the virus.

A rise for the second week in a row to Suffolk’s “shielded patient list” means the number of people being told not to go outside until the end of June has risen by more than 4,000 people in a fortnight.

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The government created the list as the pandemic took hold earlier this year to identify those most in need of protection from the illness.

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 included on the original list.

Having been at around 18,000 on April 24, Suffolk’s list now stands at 22,000 – a rise of more than a fifth in a fortnight.

Nationwide, the shielded patient list has more than doubled from 900,000 to 2million in recent weeks as doctors add more at-risk people.

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Those on the list are being told to “strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus”.

Each person has received an NHS letter and text message which says: “Do not leave your house,” for fear they might become infected.

That restriction remains in place until at least the end of June, regardless of whether a lockdown is being imposed in the UK or not.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council 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 22,000 in Suffolk as the NHS continues to update the list (over 2million across the nation).”

The spokesman added that 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”.

So far, they have contacted about 15,000 people between them.

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