Numbers added to Suffolk Covid shielding list set to grow to 14,000
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Thousands more people are set to be added to Suffolk's Covid shielding list - with another 7,000 likely to join 7,000 already added days earlier.
That would make 14,000 new additions to the list in total, after new categories for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable were unveiled by the government earlier in the week.
Friday's meeting of the local outbreak engagement board gathering of community leaders was told of the figures, with new categories for shielding based on a live algorithm called QCovid.
Suffolk County Council's Chrissie Geeson, who chairs the Collaborative Communities Covid-19 Board, said the new algorithm provided a more nuanced picture.
"We estimate that we will have an additional 14,000 patients, but we are not 100% sure.
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"We have had just over 7,000 names that have come down to us so far," she said.
"Patients will receive emails and letters this week notifying them that they have been added to the list and they are now advised to shield."
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She added: "Home But Not Alone are ready to start making proactive contacts on Monday.
"The shielding list is a live list and people are added to that all the time, so we are often speaking to batches of people as they are added."
Existing criteria for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable included organ transplant recipients, people with specific cancers, those with severe respiratory conditions such as chronic asthma and those on immunosuppression therapies among others.
The new algorithm assesses those at higher risk based on age, ethnicity, pre-existing conditions, body mass index (BMI) and the levels of deprivation in their area.
However, those on the new shielding list only have to do so voluntarily, as there was "no mechanism to enforce them to stay at home".
Health bosses have strongly encouraged them to do so, however.
Those newly shielding are eligible for priority supermarket delivery slots, and Ms Geeson said they can speak to their GP who can help them understand why they have been added to the list.
Of the 7,182 to join this week, 39% were aged 30-44, while 73% were in the 30-59 working age population. However, is it not yet clear how many are in frontline roles who cannot work from home.