'Critical point' – 327 Covid patients being treated in Suffolk's hospitals

PC117 Stephenson from the Kestrel Team patrolling Ipswich town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCYBROWN

The Suffolk Resilience Forum is calling on the population to abide by coronavirus guidelines at New Years - Credit: Archant

Suffolk's resilience forum has issued a plea for people to comply with Tier 4 rules over New Year, as the county reaches a 'critical point' in its coronavirus battle.

The resilience forum, made up of local authorities, police and health agencies, made the plea as Suffolk continues to see record numbers of coronavirus cases – with the latest wave of coronavirus putting increased strain on the local healthcare system.

As of December 30, 327 people were being treated for the virus in Suffolk's hospitals – while around 370 people are testing positive for the virus in the county every day on average.

The group has forecasted that cases could double by mid-January, which would put the current seven-day infection rate of 222.6 per 100,000 to more than 400.

As a result, the group is now urging people to follow the Tier 4 guidelines of staying at home – and not to mix with other households.

DCC Rachel Kearton said she was very pleased with the report overall Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

DCC Rachel Kearton said she was very pleased with the report overall Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

Rachel Kearton, Suffolk’s deputy chief constable and Covid-19 response lead for the Suffolk Resilience Forum, said the county is at a "critical point" in its fight against the virus.

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DCC Kearton said: “We urge people to abide by the Tier 4 restrictions in order to do all they can to protect themselves, their families and the NHS.

“This week we have all seen the reports about the pressures hospitals, doctors, nurses and staff are under. They need us all to be responsible and to do the right thing. We should all stay local, work from home where possible, and only go out for essential journeys.

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“From a policing perspective officers will continue to engage, educate and explain the restrictions to people who mistakenly contravene them. However, where there is a blatant disregard for the regulations we will enforce the law.”

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said the coronavirus situation in Suffolk is incredibly serious

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks says the coronavirus situation in Suffolk is incredibly serious - Credit: Gregg Brown

Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council and chair of Suffolk’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said now is not the time to give up on following the rules.

He said: "With the new vaccines, there is reason to be hopeful for 2021.

“But for now, infection rates are at unprecedented levels in Suffolk and there is growing demand on our hospitals and social care settings.

“The steps we take now are critical. Suffolk needs you to play your part and do all we can to keep ourselves and our friends, family and neighbours safe.”

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