The number of new coronavirus cases soared again in Brighton and Hove in the week before restrictions were eased, according to new figures.
Confirmed cases locally jumped almost a third from 1,245 to 1,649 in the seven days to Monday 19 July.
The rate rose to 567 cases of covid-19 for every 100,000 people, compared with 428 in the previous seven-day period.
The rate in Brighton and Hove remains higher than the average for England and for the south east.
Vaccination rates also remain lower than average in Brighton and Hove, most notably among the younger age groups.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “When mandatory covid-19 safety measures were lifted on Monday, confirmed cases of the disease in our city had returned to similar levels as in January.
“The NHS vaccination programme has helped to control the impact of the disease. But this week local hospitals have started to see an increase in the number of people admitted with covid-19, including critical care.”
Council public health consultant Nicola Rosenberg said that having the jab was the best defence against the virus.
She urged everyone to do all they could to protect each other after “Freedom Day” given that confirmed case rates were rising so steeply.
She said: “We know that some of the patients admitted to hospital this week with covid-19 had not been vaccinated.
“Nationally, 60 per cent of all hospital admissions with covid are not vaccinated. We’re very concerned that not enough people in Brighton and Hove have had the vaccine yet.
“Only 52 per cent of adults have had both doses. There are still too many unprotected people in our community who could become very unwell if they catch the virus.
“The full course of two doses of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines reduce the risk of needing hospital treatment for covid-19 by more than 93 per cent.
“I encourage everyone in the city to take up the vaccination offer and to support their friends and family to do so and to complete the full course of both doses of the vaccine. The second dose is available eight weeks after the first.
“Although ‘freedom day’ was welcomed by many, it brought great anxiety for others. We know that a lot of people have retreated back indoors for fear of being exposed to the virus.
“Many shops and hospitality venues are asking customers and staff to continue to wear face coverings if they can. We fully support this and it is in line with government guidance.
“We can all help to contain the spread of the virus by keeping up with the basic good hygiene habits we’ve learned during the pandemic and to meet outdoors in fresh air as much as we can – we can all take advantage of this now that summer is here.
“Other ways we can all help keep each other safe are by taking lateral flow covid tests twice a week, to self-isolate at the first sign of any symptoms and get a PCR test or self-isolate if asked by NHS test and trace to do so.
“Please don’t throw your face coverings away just yet. They will be useful so you can be considerate of other people when out and about.”
There are currently 22 patients in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, with the virus and six of them are in a high dependency or intensive care bed.
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