Covid rate falling in Ipswich, but up in other parts of Suffolk

Health experts are advising people to carry on wearing masks and observing social distancing rules.

Health experts are advising people to carry on wearing masks and observing social distancing rules. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Covid cases in Ipswich have fallen - but  all the other districts in Suffolk have seen a rise.

It's a big change from just a month ago, when Ipswich had the highest Covid rate in England. 

The latest figures have been issued after the county became an Enhanced Response Area, with national teams helping co-ordinate Covid-response efforts locally.

In the week ending November 17, the number of cases in Suffolk rose to 2,743 countywide, compared to 2,353 in the week ending November 10.

The case rate in Ipswich was down to 332.4 cases per 100,000, which is a big drop from 440.5 the previous week and now below the average England rate of 376.4. The number of new positive cases reported in Suffolk's county town was 438.

This means the town's case rate is now less well under half of where it stood in the seven days up to October 14, when there were 854.5 cases per 100,000.

The case rate in West Suffolk is now the highest in the county as 398.8, while Babergh's is 370.9 and Mid Suffolk's is 347.1. East Suffolk's case rate is the lowest in the county at 301.6.

Suffolk is due to launch its Enhanced Response Area (ERA) backed vaccine programme this week, at Barrack Corner, Ipswich.

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A spokesman for Suffolk Public Health said: "This is the first of four weekends of targeted activity to boost vaccination uptake in areas with the lowest uptake across Ipswich. The town has a low rate of vaccine take-up compared to other parts of Suffolk.

"These vaccinations will be delivered either on the vaccination bus or in pop-up clinics in the area. There is no need to book – you can just turn up and both first and second doses will be available to you in these friendly and welcoming sites. Other vaccinations events will be taking place across Suffolk in the weeks to come. "

The rise in cases in most Suffolk districts follows schools returning after half term. Former Suffolk headteacher Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Latest national data shows that coronavirus-related pupil absence in all state-funded schools was 1.6% last week, down from 3.2% in the week before the half-term break for most schools.

“The natural ‘firebreak’ of half term is a factor in this because of the reduced risk of transmission while children were at home but it is difficult to say how things will go in the second half of the term.

"We hope that the vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds will prove increasingly effective in reducing disruption, but it is frustrating that the rollout of this programme has suffered a number of delays.

"We have repeatedly said that the government must also work harder to encourage eligible students to carry out twice-weekly home testing, and that it should make funding available to schools and colleges for ventilation systems.

“Although coronavirus-related pupil absence fell after half term, the level of disruption still remains very significant. Last week’s absence rate of 1.6% equates to 130,000 pupils out of school.

"The first stage of education recovery is to have pupils in the classroom on a consistent basis, and we are still not in that position. The pandemic and its impact on education are not over, and the situation remains very challenging.”