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Just 12 new positive tests as coronavirus rate in Norfolk plummets

PUBLISHED: 08:59 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:02 03 July 2020

The drive-through coronavirus testing facility at the Norwich Research Park. Picture: Denise Bradley

The drive-through coronavirus testing facility at the Norwich Research Park. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A steep fall in coronavirus cases saw just 12 positive tests last week in Norfolk, which had amongst the lowest coronavirus infection rates in England.

Public Health England on Thursday published updated numbers using two types of data, Pillar 1 – tests carried out in hospitals – and Pillar 2 – tests covering the wider population, including results from sites like Postwick Park and Ride.

This data shows the average number of cases per 100,000 people in each county and council area.

In Norfolk, the latest figures reveal that in the week up to June 28, there were 1.5 positive test results per 100,000 people – down from 4.3 the week before.

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilDr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

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The fall mirrors neighbouring counties. Suffolk saw just 0.9 positive test results per 100,000 people – down from 1.5 the week before, while in Cambridgeshire there were 3.7 positive tests per 100,000, down from 5.1.

The PHE data shows Norfolk ranked 120 out of 151 local authorities for the rate of new coronavirus cases up to June 28, whilst Suffolk is ranked even lower at 133.

The inclusion of Pillar 2 data in the figures comes after public health officials had previously said they were not getting the full picture.

Postwick park and ride coronavirus test centre. Picture: Mike PagePostwick park and ride coronavirus test centre. Picture: Mike Page

PHE had only published local figures on the number of health and care staff testing positive.

Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk, said: “We welcome the national publication of the total rates and locations of infections in the county, because it is important for everyone to understand what the current situation is.

“Over the past few weeks in Norfolk, we have been monitoring these data closely and the number of daily cases has fallen.

“There were 12 positive cases across the whole county between June 24 and 30 showing that the rate of infection in Norfolk is currently low.

“The additional combined Pillar 1 and 2 data published today has not changed our overall position and reports that 2,842 positive cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in Norfolk to date.”

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The low figures in East Anglia are in stark contrast to Leicester, where a local lockdown has been imposed and where there were 141.3 positive tests per 100,000, a rise from 140.2 the previous week.

The other top 10 highest positive test rates were seen in northern towns and cities including Bradford (45.8); Barnsley (35.1); Rochdale (35), Oldham (30.1); Kirklees (26.2); Rotherham (26.1) and Sheffield (24.4).

Ms Smith said despite the lower rate locally it was important not be complacent and to stick to guidance.

She said: “To keep infection low we need to keep washing our hands and keeping our distance from others – that is particularly important as further restrictions are lifted at the weekend. If you have symptoms, stay at home and book a test through NHS Test and Trace – that is the best way to help us monitor the disease and reduce the spread. We need to work together to protect ourselves, protect others and protect Norfolk.”


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