Major incident declared in Sussex due to surge in coronavirus infections

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A major incident has been declared in Sussex due to surging coronavirus infection rates.

The measures were brought in as case numbers soar in England's south east.

The county is seeing rising numbers of Covid-19 infections as a mutant strain of the virus spreads from the region.

The major nincident declaration will allow public services to make exceptional preparations for a potentially worsening situation, reports Sussex Live.

Public Health England data shows infection rates in hotspots in the county were as high as 684.5 per 100,000 people in Brighton and Hove, for the week ending January 2.

People wear masks in Chichester basin, West Sussex, as cases surged in the lead-up to Christmas
(Image: PA)

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The major incident puts all agencies in Sussex together to focus on tackling the virus amid a the new national lockdown.

It isn't the first time one has been declared, with the last in the summer of 2020.

The same decision has already been taken by several other local resilience forums in the South East.

The Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF) which co-ordinates and communicates between health, emergency services, local authorities and other partners, agreed to declare the incident from 2pm Wednesday.

Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing this winter
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The SRF bases its decision on the rate of pressures across the entire health and care system.

That includes measuring pressure on factors like 999 calls, hospital admissions, clinical treatment, discharge from hospital, community services and provision in care homes.

County authorities say the extra demands on the system are being managed.

But plans must now be made for the likelihood that pressures will increase still further in coming weeks, while the vaccine rollout is still getting underway.

Central Brighton, East Sussex, is deserted one the first day of the third lockdown
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

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The major incident response is likely to include calls for volunteers to step up, preparing in detail for extra capacity needed across services, and considering requests for extra support from the central government if necessary.

It comes as the UK-wide virus daily death toll rose above 1,000 for the first time since April.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson plunged England into a third national lockdown on Monday evening.

Hospital admissions are soaring up once again
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller, from the Sussex Resilience Forum, said: “Our focus, as ever, is on working together to protect people in Sussex in every way we can.

"The pressures on the whole system of health and social care are facing this winter are unprecedented and while our services are managing, we know that challenges are only likely to increase in the short term.

"By declaring a major incident, we can put ourselves on the strongest possible footing to combine our efforts and resources to keep people and public services in the best possible health.”

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