Sheffield ‘very lucky’ as number of Covid-19 hospital patients across Yorkshire rises

Sheffield is “very lucky” despite coronavirus cases increasing everywhere in England along with the number of patients hospitalised by the virus, a health expert has claimed.

By Steve Jones
Monday, 4th January 2021, 2:32 pm

The number of Covid-19 infections in the city rose by 231 in the seven days to 30 December – the latest date for which reliable data is available – but the infection rate of 213 per 100,000 people remains considerably smaller than the national average for this period of 411.

Dr Andrew Lee, a reader of public health at the University of Sheffield, said: “We're very lucky in Sheffield at the moment.

"The numbers are rising but nowhere like what’s happening down south, it’s almost like a vertical rise.”

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A general view of the entrance of the Northern General Hospital (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

There are several potential reasons why cases have not risen as sharply in Sheffield, Dr Lee said.

He added: “We went into Tier 3 much, much earlier [than other places] in October, even before the second lockdown – and we have stayed there.

"I think Tier 3 can just about hold the pandemic where it is. All the places that went into Tier 2, they are in trouble at the moment.”

London, where the infection rate was 934 per 100,000 people in the week ending 30 December, was among the areas initially placed into Tier 2 following the second lockdown.

Sheffield’s lower infection rate is also “hopefully” a sign of people complying with the rules, Dr Lee said.

He added: “The last likely factor is at this point in time we have very low rates of the new variant.”

The latest government data shows Yorkshire and the Humber’s infection rate is currently the lowest of all regions in England, but has risen.

Hospital data for the region, which is combined with the north-east, reveals coronavirus patient numbers were up 11 per cent to 2,710 on January 3 compared to the previous week.

That figure was below the peak of 3,473 in mid-November.

Dr Lee said: “I think our hospital capacity [in Sheffield] isn’t bad yet because if it was the government wouldn’t have put us into Tier 3.

"I haven’t heard anything worrying from the hospital yet.”

Despite this, Dr Lee called for a national lockdown to control the further spread of the illness and expects increased hospital pressures following Christmas mixing.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has been contacted for comment.