Suffolk cases fall in new coronavirus infection data as regional ‘R’ value drops
PUBLISHED: 10:36 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:12 11 August 2020
The Covid-19 infection rate in Suffolk is falling – with the county recording some of the lowest numbers in England, according to the latest weekly figures.
Public Health England data published over the weekend shows Suffolk recorded just two positive coronavirus tests per 100,000 people in the week to August 2.
In that time there were 18 positive tests logged across testing sites using data from pillar 1 (hospitals) and pillar 2 (home kits and regional centres).
This is down by more than 50% from 34 positive tests the previous week, with a rate of 3.3 per 100,000.
The new figures rank Suffolk as 125th lowest out of 150 local authorities for Covid-19 infection rates, a position it shares with Norfolk.
MORE: Where are the Covid-19 mobile testing centres this week?
Nationally, Blackburn with Darwen and Oldham have the highest infection rates – with the northern areas recording 77.9 and 56.5 cases per 100,000 people respectively.
The news comes as infection rates for Suffolk and north Essex local authorities also fell in the week to August 2.
In Clacton and Harwich, where public health chiefs detected early signs of a rise in infections, the number of positive tests also dropped to seven in the week to August 2, down from 15 the previous week.
MORE: Plea for drinkers to queue responsibly after Ipswich bar social distancing row
Despite the drop in positive cases, residents in both counties are being urged to stay vigilant.
Over the weekend, the Suffolk Resilience Forum of police, councils and other emergency services issued warnings over social distancing at pubs, bars, beaches and beauty spots as the region baked in scorching sunshine.
Last weekend, pictures emerged of around 100 people breaking social distancing rules while queuing outside the popular Sin bar in Ipswich.
The bar said the image did not represent the “huge efforts” it had made to ensure customer safety.
Following the incident Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said it is “vital” people maintain social distancing when visiting indoor and outdoor venues.
“Coronavirus is still a real and deadly threat,” he added.
“Suffolk has been extremely good in doing what it has been asked to do.
“However, we must not be complacent. Covid-19 has not gone away.
“We have seen other areas go into local lockdown, and if we are to stay on top of this virus in Suffolk we must all stick with it.”
‘R’ value falls in the east
On Friday, the government also published updated figures for ‘R’ values across the UK.
The east of England was the only region to record a fall in ‘R’, which represents the number of individuals who, on average, will be infected by a single person with Covid-19.
According to the government, the current ‘R’ value in the east of England is estimated at 0.7-0.9, which means for every person infected, less than one other individual will be infected with the coronavirus.
However, health chiefs say that because the data is likely to be based on either low case numbers or highly varied rates of transmission, the ‘R’ number should not influence policy decisions, i.e. to fully re-open schools or impose local lockdowns.
MORE: Suffolk plans own test-and-trace system – as figures reveal dozens of contacts are not followed up
The news comes after it was revealed Suffolk had reported its first week with no coronavirus-related deaths since March, with 558 people having died after testing positive for the disease locally.
Of those people, 349 died in hospitals and 186 in care homes.
It also emerged last week that Covid-19 areas in the region’s three major hospitals had been scaled down, as hospital admissions due to Covid-19 are continuing to fall.
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