Norfolk yet to reach peak in latest wave of coronavirus deaths
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Norfolk may have turned the corner over coronavirus infection rates, the county's public health director has said, but warned the number of hospital admissions and deaths has yet to peak.
The Covid-19 infection rate in Norfolk dropped to 439 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to January 16, compared to 491 the week before.
There have been 3,896 cases in the seven days to January 16 - 474 fewer compared to the previous week.
While there are concerns about the high rates in Norwich, Dr Louise Smith said it seemed the third national lockdown was starting to have an impact.
But she warned the peak in terms of admissions to Norfolk's hospitals - and deaths - had yet to be reached.
She said: "I think it's reasonable to anticipate that while we remain in lockdown and people follow the current regulations - and unless we see a new variant emerge again - that we are seeing a trend of the number of infections in the community come down.
"We don't believe we've seen the peak in terms of hospital admissions yet, or, indeed, of deaths, because those follow a number of days to weeks after the peak in the community."
There are currently 730 beds occupied by patients with Covid-19, 55 in intensive care.
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Since the pandemic began, more than 900 deaths of people in Norfolk with coronavirus, including in hospitals, care homes and at home, had been registered up to January 16.
The vaccination programme is now being rolled out, but Dr Smith said people given it should not lower their guard.
She said: "Once you've had your first vaccine, it will take your body a few weeks to build the immune response to that vaccine, so it doesn't happen instantly. It develops over a number of weeks."
And she said vaccinated people still needed to stick to guidelines, to minimise contact with others and to observe social distancing.
She said it was "very early days" in the rollout of the vaccine programme.
She said: "For us to be safe from Covid, we need the whole population vaccinated.
"It is of no benefit to Norfolk to be vaccinated if Suffolk and Lincolnshire have not been vaccinated also."