Health chief warns Sheffield’s infection rate could be start of another Covid-19 ‘take-off’

Sheffield’s Director of Public Health has warned that the recent rise in covid cases in the city could be the beginning of another ‘take-off’ for the virus.

Monday, 7th September 2020, 11:18 am

In recent weeks the infection – or incident – rate in Sheffiled has been on the rise, having been fluctuating for a number of weeks previously.

Sheffield’s latest Covid-19 infection rate is 23.6 per 100,000 of the population for the week ending September 1.

This means that in those seven days 138 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed, up from 65 the week before, when the infection rate was 11.1.

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Greg Fell, Sheffield Director of Public Health.

Mr Fell said: "We still want more people to get tested if they have symptoms. What appears to be happening is that the rates are fluctuating. It has been fairly stable but they are creeping up a bit at the moment.

"This could just be a temporary upwards tick or it could be the start of another take-off.

"We are all expecting an upwards swing in autumn – that is probably unavoidable, with schools going back and universities going back. The question is how low we can keep it. Any increase is a concern.

"This doesn’t change our strategy. We still want people to keep a safe distance, wear masks and get tested if they have symptoms. That way we can reopen Sheffield.

"And if somebody has symptoms or tests positive they need to self isolate.”

Echoing points made by Sheffield’s Health Protection Manager Ruth Granger last month, Mr Fell stressed the fact that younger people are now more commonly found to be carrying the virus, and should get tested even if they only have mild symptoms.

He said: “The age of those testing positive has come right down. Three month ago it was usually people in their 50s and 60s. Now it is people in their 30s.

"These people are generally well, even if they have it.

"This is where there is a difference between counting cases and counting illness. Younger people may test positive but not have the illness, but they could still pass it on to somebody more vulnerable who gets the illness.”