East Suffolk Council Updates

Important announcement 9th October 2020 – East and West Suffolk added to Covid-19 watchlist

East and West Suffolk have been placed on an East of England watchlist by Public Health England, due to a continuing rise of Covid-19 cases.

Areas which are seeing a rise of cases are Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Newmarket, Beccles, Bungay, Felixstowe and Lowestoft.

Data for cases of Covid-19 shows: (correct as of 7 October 2020)

  • West Suffolk
    • Rate per 100,000 (in the last 7 days) – 33.00
    • Cases in last 7 days – 43
    • Cumulative – 702
  • East Suffolk
    • Rate per 100,000 (in the last 7 days) – 30.9
    • Cases in last 7 days – 46
    • Cumulative – 1,073
  • Rate per 100,000 (in the last 7 days)
    • Suffolk – 26.93
    • England – 108.7
    • East of England – 41.1

The rise in cases comes from across the community and is not specifically linked to a certain group of people, or type of workplace.

Stuart Keeble, director of Public Health Suffolk, said:

“Unfortunately, the number of cases in the county, particularly in East and West Suffolk, has continued to increase. This is a shot across Suffolk’s bows and means that we all need to sit up and pay attention – Covid-19 is circulating in our communities.

“But the good news is that we can quickly bring numbers back down again by using our common sense and stop the virus from spreading.”

Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board said:

“I ask that all Suffolk residents, especially those in East and West Suffolk, remind themselves of the importance of washing your hands, covering your face and keeping your distance from others.

“We simply must stop the transmission of the virus between people. You can still meet people you don’t live with, in groups of up to six – but you must still keep two metres apart. We are not living in normal times: if you’re visiting the shops, don’t stand directly next to others in the checkout queue or when browsing shelves; give people space when passing in the street; if you visit somewhere that looks busy, come back later.

“Residents in East and West Suffolk have done exceptionally well to keep the number of cases to some of the lowest in the country. However, if we simply carry on as we are, we will be moving towards the tougher restrictions which we are seeing elsewhere in the country.”

Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, said:

“The communities of East Suffolk have been incredibly vigilant throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, however there has been a slight rise in numbers locally as we experience a nationwide increase in infection.

“At this stage, we are not being asked to follow any new or stricter guidelines than those currently in place – however we do want everyone to continue being as careful as possible and to ensure that numbers to do not continue to increase in a way that may cause us greater concern.

“Please remember the ‘rule of six’ and avoid gathering in groups larger than six people. Also remember “hands, face, space”, so please maintain the best possible health and hygiene standards by washing your hands regularly, wearing a mask and maintaining a two-metre distance from people wherever possible.

“It is clear that we are not suffering the same level of infection as other parts of the country and I am very proud of the efforts made by everyone in East Suffolk. However, we simply cannot let our guard down and allow the virus to take a greater hold.  We must not take any chances in our battle with Covid-19.”

John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said:

“Public Health England has put West and East Suffolk on a watch list due to the percentage rise in COVID-19 cases in our areas. I want to reassure you that numbers are lower than many places in the country due to our communities doing what they do best and looking out for one another. But at the moment the rise in cases is serious and steep which is why we all need to play our part in tackling the further spread of COVID-19.

“By following simple rules – sticking to the rule of six guidance, washing your hands, using a facemask and leaving space to stay safe – we all can help prevent the spread. If unsure, guidance can be found on the websites of the Government, Public Health England and the NHS. Every single one of us has it in our gift to help stop the spread and protect our loved ones and community. By simply spreading the word you can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Stick with it West Suffolk and carry on doing your bit to help keep us all, and yourselves, safe.”

If you experience any of the recognised Covid-19 symptoms, you must immediately book a test and begin self-isolating. If you cannot book a test straight away, be patient and keep trying. You have up to eight days to take your test from when you first experience symptoms.

Symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You can book a free test by visiting the NHS website or calling NHS 119. For the latest information on coronavirus and how to stay safe, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

See below for valuable information published in the East Suffolk Council bulletin and about their services including important updates regarding housing rent and recycling centres. For up to date information re Garden Waste services, please see under the NEWS tab for the latest information May 2020. Please familiarise yourself with the content. 

Suffolk’s CoronaWatch is the home of data and information produced under the Suffolk Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). It provides information, data, and FAQ’s on Coronavirus and its impact in Suffolk. https://www.healthysuffolk.org.uk/jsna/coronawatch

  • The Church of England are offering phone support for NHS staff who would like to speak to someone outside the service. This is open to people of any or no religion. The information is available on their poster viewable here.
  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has set up a 24/7 helpline offering immediate support for mental health difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic. Staffed by mental health professionals from the Trust, it will provide reassurance, self-help advice, support and signposting. ‘First Response’ is available on 0808 196 3494.
  • Public Health England are promoting their ‘Act like you have it’ campaign including free downloadable images and posters for distribution. Using these helps promote a clear and consistent message across our communities. Downloads are available at https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/anyone-can-get-it/resources/


Local councils are facing a massive logistical challenge to ensure that essential supplies such as food and medicines continue to get through to our most vulnerable residents and those who are shielding or self-isolating at home and have no immediate support from family or friends. 

Nicole Rickard is leading on a county-wide working group for East Suffolk which has been tasked with setting up a Suffolk Community Hub which will match requests for help with volunteers who can assist.

To help with that volunteering effort we have drawn up a list of council staff who are not directly involved in delivering essential council services and who have said that they want to help in the community.  Volunteering will take many forms from helping with the delivery of essential supplies to keeping in regular contact by telephone or email with those who are on their own, feeling isolated and would welcome a friendly voice on the end of the telephone. 

If you would like to be added to the list of our volunteers please email phil.gore@eastsuffolk.gov.uk and let him know how you would like to help.

A summary of East Suffolk Council teams

East Suffolk Council will continue to deliver essential services to those who need us most and I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of our staff and partners who are putting the needs of other people first during this emergency.

The Council’s Customer Services team is responding to urgent enquiries, however customers are encouraged wherever possible to seek information about services on www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk. If anyone has an enquiry which cannot be resolved online, they should email us at customerservices@eastsuffolk.gov.uk. Customers can also call us on 03330 162 000 but please do bear in mind that our phone lines are likely to be very busy and calls should only be made if absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, the Revenues & Benefits team and ARP Partnership are continuing to react to customer enquiries, processing work across the five partner councils.

Otherwise, the majority of East Suffolk’s office-based staff are now working from home and are undertaking no face-to-face meetings. However teams which retain a public health & safety responsibility remain operational, albeit with a reduced capacity.

The Housing Team continues to manage a homelessness function and will carry out emergency repairs on council properties if the issue is urgent. Full social distancing procedures are being followed throughout. We are also working closely with residents in our sheltered housing schemes to ensure they have everything they need.

East Suffolk’s Environmental Protection and Food & Safety teams will only respond to emergencies for the foreseeable future and our Building Control team will also deal with structural emergencies only where this is a safety risk to the public.

Payment of housing rent during COVID-19 emergency

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus we understand that some tenants may face financial difficulties. Tenants with specific worries should contact the council as soon as possible and our teams will discuss the options that are available.

However, we would ask, where possible, that tenants with rent concerns please email estates@eastsuffolk.gov.uk rather than call, to help keep our phone lines free for urgent repair enquiries.

Private tenants, those with another social landlord, or homeowners who would like advice about financial concerns, should contact their landlord/mortgage provider directly or go to the advice pages on www.shelter.org.uk for further information.

Public to access Suffolk’s Recycling Centres from Thursday by appointment only
A new online booking system will be in place when Suffolk’s Recycling Centres re-open on Thursday May 14th 2020. This appointment-only system is necessary to help reduce traffic disruption and queueing on roads around the sites and help manage additional demand on the waste sites. There are also new temporary restrictions and guidelines in place at all sites to support the safety of staff and members of the public.
Suffolk County Council has been working with its contractor FCC Environment to put plans in place to re-open all eleven sites to make sure that visits to the Recycling Centres are as safe as possible for residents and staff. In order to reopen the sites safely, people will need to book a time online when they can arrive and dispose of their waste. Through the online booking process, the council wants to limit the length of queuing on roads outside the Recycling Centres, which have occurred elsewhere in the country when sites have reopened. If you do not have an appointment, you will be denied access and turned away from the site.  click here to read further

Anyone wishing to highlight a resident or group in need of support is asked to contact the Communities Team by emailing communities@eastsuffolk.gov.uk.

 Watch out for scammers

Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.

Friends Against Scams (www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk) is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams.

Anybody can join Friends Against Scams and make a difference in their own way. You can even complete the online training and raise awareness throughout your community.