The number of new coronavirus cases in Brighton and Hove has topped 1,000 in a week for the first time.
The news emerged as the government announced a staggered return to school in the new year, with a fortnight’s delay for most secondary school students.
Those taking exams are due to go back in the week starting Monday 11 January, when the extended parliamentary recess will end.
And the rest are expected to return a week later, allowing time to set up mass testing of pupils.
In Brighton and Hove, 1,021 new cases of covid-19 were confirmed in the week to Boxing Day (Saturday 26 December), according to Public Health England, up from 673 in the previous week.
This equates to a rate of 351 cases per 100,000 people, up from 231.4 in the seven days to Saturday 19 December.
And the government’s coronavirus dashboard said today (Wednesday 30 December) that 221 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 24 hours.
This would mean 1,149 new cases over the past week – a 54 per cent rise as the new mutant strain of covid-19 continues to spread.
Nationally, the government said that 50,023 new cases had been confirmed today, on top of 53,135 cases yesterday.
And 981 deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours of people who had tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust recorded eight deaths in the past week of patients who have had covid – down from 10 in the previous week – taking the hospital trust’s total to 228 since the start of the pandemic.
The trust runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, in Brighton, and the Princess Royal Hospital, in Haywards Heath.
The neighbouring East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust – which runs the Conquest Hospital, in Hastings, and Eastbourne District General Hospital – recorded 44 deaths in the past week, up from 34 the week before.
Hastings is still in the top 20 council areas in the country with the highest rates of infection but the number of new cases has fallen slightly.
In the week to Boxing Day there were 880 new cases – a rate of 949.7 per 100,000 people – down from 904 cases the week before – a rate of 975.6.
Eastern Sussex Healthcare also serves Rother, Eastbourne and Wealden where new case rates remain – as in Brighton and Hove – in the top half of the 315 council areas in England.
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