‘There is still a long way to go’ – Sheffield health boss issues warning as Covid rates rise again
Sheffield’s coronavirus rates are once again rising in another sign that the city is still a long way from beating Covid-19.
In his latest weekly coronavirus ‘position statement’, Sheffield’s director of public health Greg Fell revealed that the rates in the city had gone back above 100 per 100,000 in the seven days to March 18.
Mr Fell said that the rise in rates was most likely down to schools going back and an increase in testing, as well as more people returning to work having been relieved of childcare responsibilities.
But he added that the rising rates underscored the importance of people following the rules on social mixing and continuing to follow guidance on mask-wearing and hand-washing.
He said: “This is happening in lots of parts of the country and Sheffield is obviously no exception. It is principally driven by school age and working age and that was always predicted to happen once schools got fully back.
"Some of those of working age clearly have always been out and about and able to interact with others and some more are now out and about beacuse their kids are back at school.
"We’re doing a lot of testing, asymptomatically, particularly around schools. Last week, in the North East and Yorkshire, a million tests were done and if we look, we find, and rates go up.
"Importantly, the over 65s rate is stable to going down reasonably quickly and the harm, as measured by the number of people in a hospital bed, is going down and that’s definitely the impact of the vaccine.
"So it’s uncertain how all of that plays out in the medium term. Clearly rates are going up in Europe which isn’t as well vaccinated a population as this country but there is still a long way to go even in this country with over 60s vaccination.
"We’re still on track with regard to the roadmap and we’re still right to carefully reopen but we won’t be relaxing some of the individual level measures – washing hands and face coverings etc – probably for some time to come.
"If you have symptoms, get a test – and remember we are still in lockdown so all of the guidance in place around social mixing is still in place.”