MORE than 130 people may have caught Covid-19 while in hospitals run by the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, figures suggest.

One in nine patients have contracted the deadly virus while in hospital since lockdown ended in July 2021, the analysis shows.

But the trust’s chief nurse Giles Thorpe insisted every inpatient is tested regularly so any cases of Covid-19 can be identified and dealt with as quickly as possible.

Analysis of NHS England data shows there were 1,246 Covid admissions at the trust, which runs hospitals in Colchester, Ipswich, Clacton and Harwich, between July 19 2021 and January 16.

Of those, 1,112 were infections which occurred in the community, meaning 134 people may have caught the virus while being treated for other conditions over the period.

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In the week to January 16, 70 new Covid patients were being cared for by the trust, with 24 thought to have contracted the virus in hospital.

Mr Thorpe, who is also the trust’s director of infection prevention, said: “We have robust infection prevention and control measures in place across all our hospitals and services to manage and respond to Covid.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

“We also continue to follow all the national guidance available to us to keep patients, visitors, and staff safe – this is our top priority.

“Every inpatient is tested regularly so we can identify any cases of Covid in our hospitals as quickly as possible and swift action is taken to care for all patients, with and without Covid, safely.

“When we have seen patients test positive for the virus in our hospitals, our Infection Prevention and Control team carefully investigate how this has happened and our teams provide care in line with national guidance.”

A spokesman for NHS England added rising infection rates in hospital correspond to increasing rates in the community.

He said: “Data conclusively demonstrates the root cause of rising infection rates in hospitals is rising rates in the community, and analysis has shown Covid-19 hospital infection rates account for less than one per cent of all cases since the pandemic began.

“Cases have reduced significantly since the NHS vaccination rollout.”