Suffolk's Covid rate trebles as experts warn virus 'hasn't gone away'

People wearing face masks in Sudbury, with the Babergh district reporting Suffolk's highest Covid rate

Mask wearing is no longer mandatory after Covid rules ended (stock photo) - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Health experts have warned Covid "has not gone away" after the number of reported infections in Suffolk more than trebled in under a month.

Data released by the government has shown there were 174 Covid cases identified in the county on June 23.

This figure has risen in the last month, having more than trebled from the 57 cases recorded on May 26.

In the last four weeks, Suffolk's Covid rate has almost trebled from 59.2 cases per 100,000 people to 171.5.

The reported totals are likely to be skewed by the lack of free public testing, which ended in April this year.

Fewer people in Suffolk are reporting positive lateral flow test results

The true number of Covid cases in Suffolk may be skewed by the lack of free testing - Credit: PA

But the rise in infections has not coincided with an increase in Covid-related deaths, with less than one person dying with the virus every week in Suffolk since the start of June.

Both East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, and West Suffolk Hospital have seen the number of Covid patients fall since April.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said the rise in infections is partly due to the presence of two Omicron variants, known as BA.4 and BA.5.

A UKHSA spokesman said: "It’s been a number of months since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and we are all enjoying some normality after a challenging two years which impacted all corners of life.

Most Read

"As we now look forward to life without restrictions and head into the social summer holiday period, we must keep in mind that the virus has not gone away.

"In fact, in recent weeks we have seen a rise in cases in the East of England with a shift in the dominant strain from the Omicron BA.2 variant.

"The latest data indicates that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now account for more than half of rising Covid-19 cases in the UK and are driving the recent increase in infections.

"We are fortunate that so far the rise in cases has not led to an increase in hospital admissions or deaths and this is down to the efficacy of the vaccine and the incredible efforts of people across the country getting vaccinated."