Sheffield's Covid infection rate rises to highest so far this year

Sheffield’s Covid infection rate has risen to more than 1,000 new cases per 100,000 of the population for the first time this year.

Thursday, 30th December 2021, 1:48 pm

With the more infectious Omicron fast becoming the prevalent strain, the Covid infection rate in Sheffield has been on a sharp upward curve since December 9.

And as of the seven days to December 24 – the latest data on record – it has risen to 1,065.7 new positive test results per 100,000 of the population.

This means that more than one per cent of the city’s population has tested positive with Covid in that week.

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This is not as high as the peaks in 2020 – in November last year the infection rate in Sheffield rose to more than 1,700 per 100,000 of the population.

However, the curve in Sheffield as yet shows no signs of flattening, and healthcare bosses in the city have encouraged people to get their vaccinations or boosters to help prevent the spread.

Kirsten Major, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told people to ‘roll up, walk up, sleeve up’ in the wake of the infection rate topping 1,000 for the first time this year.

Kirsten Major.

She added: “Come on all you lovely Sheffielders play your part in the vaccine versus Omicron race.”

And while it has been acknowledged that Omicron is less severe than other strains, director of public health Greg Fell warned of the risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed nonetheless.

Due to the fact it is more transmissible, Omicron is likely to infect more people than other variants such as Delta.

And while each individual infection carries a reportedly lower risk of a patient becoming hospitalised, the quantity of people likely to be infected means more are exposed to that risk and so a high number are still likely to end up in hospital.

People queuing for their COVID-19 booster jab at Heeley Church as the Omnicron variant rips through the British population

Mr Fell said: “Omicron has frighteningly quick doubling times, it’s remarkably infectious and it has a massive transmission advantage over Delta.

“Even if it less severe, the sheer numbers of a more transmissible virus will lead to more people being infected and that will lead to more people being poorly and possibly unsustainable pressure on the NHS and social care.”