Covid cases in Suffolk schools begin to plateau

School pupil face masks

Cases of Covid-19 are slightly lower than they were at the end of September - Credit: RODNAE Productions

The rate of Covid cases spreading through schools in Suffolk has slowed significantly in the past 10 days, with only a 1% increase.

There were a total of 2,120 positive tests between September 27 - October 7 across 226 education settings compared to 2,099 cases and 209 education settings in the 10 days prior.

The cases in the county had previously doubled in less than a week - between September 12 and 23 there were 1,209 cases, while between September 18 and 28 that figure rose to 2,476 cases.

Nationally around one in 15 children in school Years 7 to 11 are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to October 2 – the highest positivity rate for any age group and up from one in 20 the previous week.

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said that with around four million children in that age group in England, one in 15 equates to around 270,000 testing positive.

He said that based on separate ONS estimates on long Covid prevalence, this could mean about 13,500 could go on to have long Covid symptoms, and almost 7,000 will have symptoms that limit their day-to-day activity

Prof McConway added: “That’s rather a lot of children who will have their schooling and other activities disrupted.

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“I think the main necessary action here it to get on with vaccinating those aged 12-15 as quickly as possible – though, given that it takes time for the vaccine to become effective, that’s still not going to bring down the infection rate in this group all that fast.

“I’m certainly not suggesting general school closures or anything like that, but I don’t think it’s an option to do nothing.”

Public Health Suffolk have begun recommending that any siblings of children aged four to 18, unless exempt, who have tested positive for Covid-19, must now stay at home for three days.

After the third day, any siblings that live at the same address as the positive child can get a PCR test. If the test comes back negative, and they are not showing Covid symptoms, the siblings can return to school. 

Suffolk County Council said that the case rates in the county are currently high and is bringing in additional local actions to break the chain of transmission.

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