Rising number of patients with Covid at Suffolk hospitals

NHS hospital ward

Suffolk hospitals have seen a rise in the number of Covid patients (file photo) - Credit: PA

There are now more than 100 patients in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals with coronavirus as infection rates rise - but the numbers being treated specifically for the virus remain low.

Data released by the government revealed there were 88 patients with Covid at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, on July 2.

This figure had more than tripled from the 24 patients who had the virus in the trust's hospitals a month earlier on June 2.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, has also seen a rise in the number of Covid patients in the same timeframe – from 20 to 37.

Hospital bosses have also confirmed not all of their patients were being primarily treated for Covid.

A spokesman for ESNEFT said a "very low" number of patients in hospital with Covid were being treated primarily for the virus on this date.

West Suffolk Hospital revealed 11 of the 39 Covid patients it was caring for as of July 5 had either acute symptoms or were being treated primarily for the virus.

The rise in patient numbers comes after an increase in the number of reported Covid cases in Suffolk, with 271 identified on July 2 and just 69 on June 2.

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But these figures may be skewed by the lack of free public testing, which ended in April this year.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, said: "We have robust infection prevention and control measures in place across all our hospitals and services to manage and respond to any rise in Covid-19 admissions.

Nick Hulme offered his condolences to the families of the seven people who died at Ipswich and Colch

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT - Credit: Archant

"We also continue to follow all the national guidance available to us to keep patients, visitors, and staff safe – this remains our top priority.

"Every inpatient is tested regularly so we can identify any cases of the virus in our hospitals as quickly as possible and swift action is taken to care for all our patients, both with and without Covid-19, safely."

Alex Baldwin, deputy chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital, added: "We are seeing a steady increase in patients admitted into our hospital with Covid-19 and we are caring for those patients within our dedicated Covid-19 facilities.

"We closely monitor local infection rates and continue to have stringent processes and testing in place to reduce transmission within the hospital.

"We ask the public to remain vigilant as Covid-19 has clearly not gone away."