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Number of people testing positive for Covid in south Norfolk at highest since pandemic began

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The number of people testing positive for Covid in south Norfolk has reached its highest point since the pandemic began.

Last week, the average number of positive coronavirus cases a day reached 123 - the highest it has been since the virus was first detected in England in early 2020.

On Monday, 161 cases were detected in the region. Prior to this month, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day came on December 29 last year - when 123 people tested positive.

People in Roydon getting tested for coronavirus last winter, when south Norfolk saw its last peak in positive Covid cases. Picture: Mark Bullimore.
People in Roydon getting tested for coronavirus last winter, when south Norfolk saw its last peak in positive Covid cases. Picture: Mark Bullimore.

With 82.2 per cent of people over 12 in south Norfolk fully vaccinated, the sudden rise in cases is unlikely to impact the health service in the same way it did during spring and winter of last year - but health officials did however warn that cases could continue to rise.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s Director of Public Health, explained that many of the new cases are being found in secondary school children and working age adults.

She said: “We have always expected rates to increase as we moved from into autumn and we are now seeing that borne out in the data.

“Case rates in Norfolk over the last three weeks or so have increased.

“While children of secondary school age make up the bulk of these cases, we are seeing cases in working age adults which may reflect parents of these children catching the virus.

“South Norfolk is no different from Norfolk and England wide trends, in that the case rates are highest in secondary age children and in secondary schools, and this explains the rise in rates in the area.”

Despite this, there is some significant differences between the rise in cases in south Norfolk and the country at large.

In the UK, confirmed case rates are still nowhere near their peak in late 2020, when the seven day average was at 61,218.9 – as of October 12, the national seven day average was at 42,763.

With cases rising nationally, calls have come for certain restrictions to come into place to protect the health service.

The NHS Confederation, which represents the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has urged the government to bring back certain measures, including mandatory face coverings in public places.

Dr Smith said in order for people to avoid another winter lockdown, people must continue to take precautions to avoid spreading the virus.

She said: “While the patterns we are seeing this autumn are not the same as those seen last year, due to increased immunity, there is concern that the numbers are going to get higher through the winter.

“If we want to avoid having to seriously consider bringing back restrictions, we need everyone to remember the virus is still out there: simple steps we’re all familiar with, such as sanitising and washing your hands, wearing a mask and observing social distancing can still make a difference, and anyone who hasn’t yet had both of their vaccination jabs should go online and book an appointment as soon as possible.”

Across the border, in Mid Suffolk, the seven-day average for positive Covid cases has also reached an all-time high, at 77.7 cases a day – just higher than New Year’s Day this year when it was at 71.

More locally, cases appear to be rising, too. In the seven days leading up to October 15, 66 people tested positive for Covid in Diss and Roydon – a rise of 29.4 per cent on the week prior.

In both parishes, 78.2 per cent of people over the age of 12 have had their second jab – which is roughly around the same percentage as the UK as a whole.

In Scole, Dickleburgh and Bressingham, there were 39 cases in the same period of time – 11 more than the week before.

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