Daily Covid cases exceed 1,000 for the first time

A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination

Daily Covid cases hit new high in Norfolk - Credit: PA

The number of daily Covid cases in Norfolk are at the highest they have even been, and have exceeded 1,000 for the first time in the pandemic.

The latest government Covid data shows that on Wednesday December 15 - the most recent date for which complete figures are available - there were 1,052 new cases identified in the county.

The previous peak was during the Covid wave last Christmas, when 979 cases were reported on December 29, 2020.

However, the number of people in hospital remains stable, with 66 patients with Covid being treated in the county's hospitals, two of them in critical care.

It comes at a time when the country is facing a surge in cases linked to the Omicron strain, with the prime minister under pressure from some scientists to introduce further restrictions to curb the rise.

The new figures for Norfolk cover all strains of coronavirus, including Omicron, which local experts say is taking hold in the county. Last week, figures showed there were 58 confirmed cases of Omicron in Norfolk, plus a further 188 suspected cases.

Earlier today, Norfolk County Council also released the latest 'case rate' data for Norfolk.

The case rate is different to cases and is worked out by dividing the seven-day total by the area population and multiplying by 100,000 - a calculation that makes it easier to compare cases across areas with different population sizes.

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Case rates of coronavirus have risen by 22pc in Norfolk in the last week, the council's figures show.

The biggest rise was in South Norfolk, where the level has increased by 50pc.

For the week up to Tuesday, December 14, the overall Covid-19 case rate for Norfolk was 517.8 per 100,000 people, up 22pc on the 424.6 per 100,000 the week before.

That was below the East of England average, at 735.9 per 100,000, and the 661.3 in England. Both these figures have risen dramatically in a week, from 559 and 509.1 respectively.

Locally, cases rates were highest in Norwich, where rates increased by more than two fifths, to 635.1 per 100,000 from 450.1.

But South Norfolk saw the biggest percentage increase of 50.1pc, up from 358.6 per 100,000 to 538.2.

Broadland had the second-highest number of cases and the third-largest percentage increase in cases. Broadland had a case rate of 616.2 per 100,000 up from 473 a 30.3pc increase.

North Norfolk, where the first local Omicron variant case was identified at the end of November, saw a 15.3pc increase, from 465.9 to 537.2 cases per 100,000.

North Walsham remains a particular hot spot, with 140 cases in the seven days to December 7.

Great Yarmouth saw an 11.4pc increase from  408.3 to 454.6 cases per 100,000, while Breckland had a 7.2pc increase to 486.4 from 453.8.

For the second week in a row, King's Lynn and West Norfolk saw a drop in case rates, falling by 4.2pc from 375.5 per 100,000 to 359.7.

The average number of daily new cases in the last seven days is 888.4, compared to 540.1 for the previous seven days - a 64.5pc increase.

The total number of people tested for Covid-19 in the seven days leading up to Saturday, December 11 is 48,560, compared to 47,478 for the previous seven days (2.3pc increase).

As of December 16, 66 Covid patients are in Norfolk hospitals, two in critical care. Last week the figures were 66 people, with three in critical care.

The figures come as the NHS has announced that 12-15-year-olds will be offered a second vaccine dose by appointment only.

From Monday, 12-15-year-olds not in at risk group will be able to access a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine 12 weeks after their first dose.

Dr David Vickers, medical director at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which delivers the large scale vaccination centres across Norfolk and Waveney said: “To ensure as many 12-15-year-olds in this category as possible can access their second dose in a planned and managed way and avoid them being turned away due to lengthy queues, all second doses must be booked via the national booking service."

This can be done online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine 

Second doses for the age group will not be available on a walk-in basis unless in an at risk groups.