Coronavirus case rates in Norfolk are levelling off, say health bosses

A message to self-isolate, with one day of required isolation remaining, is displayed on the NHS cor

Coronavirus cases in Norwich are the 11th highest in the country. - Credit: PA

Norwich has the 11th highest coronavirus case rate in the country, but public health bosses say there are signs cases of the virus in the city are levelling off.

The city had a rate of 446.6 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days up to Friday, August 8, up just under 13pc on the 396 per 100,000 over the previous week.

A local lockdown would be a “last resort” to combat a fresh rise in cases of coronavirus in Norfolk,

Diane Steiner, Norfolk's deputy director of public health. - Credit: Archant

And public health bosses said Norwich's high rates were due to the city having a relatively young population - and younger people are only now getting the opportunity to have their second vaccinations.

And they say vaccinations are helping to reduce the number of people admitted to hospital.

Government advisers decided against prioritising school and college staff in "crowded" classrooms in the next phase of the...

Getting vaccinated will help keep coronavirus cases in Norfolk down, say public health bosses. - Credit: PA

Diane Steiner, deputy director of public health for Norfolk, said: "The numbers in Norwich are showing signs of levelling off.

"If you look around at the other cities with the highest case rates, it is places like Bristol, Brighton and Cambridge, where there are younger populations and they are only now being offered their second vaccinations.

"Vibrant cities like Norwich are centres for hospitality and events, so people are mixing more. Taking up the offer of a vaccine is critical as people mix together more.

"How the pandemic maps out locally will be effected by the decisions we take."

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Case rates in Norfolk, at just over 264 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to Friday, August 8 were above the East of England rate of 261 per 100,000.

Norfolk's case rates have gone up 4.4pc on the previous week, but remain below England's 297 cases per 100,000 people.

The average number of daily new cases in the last seven days has dropped slightly, from 358.7 to 345.7 - a 3.6pc decrease.

As of Tuesday, August 10, there were 56 people in Norfolk's hospitals who had tested positive for Covid-19, with eight of them in critical care.

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Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: PA

But Mrs Steiner said vaccinations were limiting how many people ended up in hospital.

Mrs Steiner said: "There is a real contrast. In February, when we had a similar number of cases we had 500 people in hospital, so we at around a 10th of what we saw then.

"We need to do what we can to keep people out of hospital, as I understand the NHS is seeing more younger people compared to the first waves.

"The important thing to remember is that this is a virus which can affect all ages. Vaccinations are now available for 16 to 17 year olds.

"We can all chip away by making sure we get vaccinated and get tested twice a week. We should keep rooms well ventilated, wear masks in crowded areas and meet outside where we can."

Mrs Steiner said some of the Norfolk cases had been linked to people who attended the Latitude Festival and who had watched Euro 2020 matches.

Some 27,000 football fans are expected to be at Carrow Road on Sunday when Norwich City take on Liverpool.

Norwich City fans enjoyed a famous 3-2 Premier League win over Manchester City Picture: Paul Chester

Fans will be back at Carrow Road for the Premier League opening fixture against Liverpool. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Asked if she was concerned that could lead to an increase in cases, Mrs Steiner said: "Any time people come together, as they are allowed to do, there is a chance of the virus spreading.

"No situation is risk free, but people can reduce their chances by being vaccinated, being outside and being cautious."

In Great Yarmouth, which has been the focus of community testing in recent weeks, the rate went up by just over 15pc, from 276.2 cases per 100,000 to 361.5 per 100,000.

But Mrs Steiner said the testing had helped keep a lid on cases, through people self-isolating after they were found to be positive.

King's Lynn and West Norfolk was up 42.5pc, from 127.6 cases per 100,000 to 181.8, while cases in Breckland increased from 209.6 cases per 100,000 to 237.9.

But rates have fallen in three Norfolk districts. South Norfolk dropped from 288.7 cases per 100,000 to 273.7, Broadland fell from 264.5 to 235 and there was a 31.6pc fall in North Norfolk, from just under 214 cases per 100,000 to 146.4.

The number of outbreaks, defined as two or more linked cases in Norfolk has increased by just over 12pc.

It went up to 83 open outbreaks, compared to 74 the week before.

That includes 41 open outbreaks among care providers, including care homes, compared to 26 outbreaks the week before - an increase of almost 68pc.

The number of people being tested has fallen by 2.3pc. There were 32,418 people tested in the week up to Thursday, August 5, compared to 33,166 the week before.

Mrs Steiner said, while cases in Norfolk seem to be plateauing, there were likely to be "fluctuations" in the months ahead.

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