Sheffield health boss says city likely to stay in Tier 3 beyond November 18

A Sheffield health boss expects the city to remain under Tier 3 restrictions beyond the initial 28-day period.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 3:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 5:22 pm

About 580,000 people in Sheffield have been subject to strict controls on daily life since 14 October to help control the spread of coronavirus, with restrictions tightened last weekend.

Susan Hird, Public Health consultant at Sheffield City Council said it is “too early days” to tell if they are working ahead of a review on 18 November.

She said: “We probably need to be honest about how long. We know we will be reviewed in 28 days but I think we’re probably expecting that we might be staying in Tier 3 for longer.

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Susan Hird, consultant in Public Health at Sheffield City Council. Picture: Sheffield City Council.

"Speaking totally honestly, I suspect not [an end to Tier 3 restrictions]. I think in the interest of being honest with folks, people need to know we probably won’t be out of this in 28 days’ time. What will get us out of Tier 3 in terms of criteria is being worked on nationally.”

Local leaders have yet to be told what must improve for the rules to ease – and do not know when they will find out.

"From our side of things we want clarity as soon as [...] because then we can tell the public,” Ms Hird added.

She predicted the criteria used to decide whether to ease restrictions will be similar, if not the same, as that used to place the city into Tier 3.

Shoppers wearing a face masks in Sheffield city centre. Photo: PA.

As well as the infection rate, it also includes the number of infections in people aged 65 and over, the ‘test positivity rate’ – how many people with symptoms test positive – and hospital data.

Sheffield’s hospitals are currently “very busy”, Ms Hird said, and despite a recent fall as cases among students stabilised, its infection rate is “continuing to rise in most age groups, particularly in older age groups.”

Household mixing remains a key source of transmission, she added, and urged people to keep following the basics.

She said: “It really is a ‘Watch this space’ and a plea to everyone to keep going with the things we know work.

"It’s tricky because I think there’s a balance between wanting to be honest with people about where we are and wanting people to have a sense of hope. We will get out of this.”