'Younger, working age people' in Sheffield more likely to test positive for coronavirus, health boss confirms
The average age of a person in Sheffield who tests positive for coronavirus has fallen significantly in recent weeks, and now stands within the ‘30s to 40s’ age bracket.
Ruth Granger, Health Protection Manager for Sheffield City Council, confirmed this as she appealed for more people to get tested in the city as the council continues to try to bring the infection rate down.
This comes as Sheffield’s infection rate, which is based on the number of new cases per 100,000 of the population in a given week, has risen to 17.4 for the week up to August 16, from 16.9 the week before.
Ms Granger explained: “We are entering the stubborn, tail end of the first wave of the pandemic, and the infection rate is changing every week, going up and down between around 13 and 17 new cases per 100,000 people.
"Over the course of the pandemic the average age of people testing positive for the virus has decreased quite a lot. In April and May it was in the 50s and 60s, however over the past few weeks it has come down to being in the 30s and 40s.
"And if the average is now in the 30s and 40s, that means people younger than that are testing positive as well and that has helped to bring the average down.
"This could be down to many factors. These are people of a younger, working age, so it could be that more people are going back to work, and it is spreading.
"It could also be that people are beginning to mix more socially again. Lots of parts of the economy are lifting their lockdown measures.
"Also, some older people are still very nervous so are still not mixing as much.”
In order to limit the spread of coronavirus caused by younger age groups, Ms Granger is urging people to get tested, even if they only exhibit the mildest of symptoms.
“We want everybody to have easy access to testing,” Ms Granger explained. “We have had the drive-in testing site at Meadowhall for some time where you can go with an appointment.
"We have also got the testing site at Olympic Legacy Park which does appointments as well as testing people who just walk in.
“Recently we have also opened one in Sharrow on Alderson Road, near the London Road pharmacy, which also does walk-ins as well as appointments.
“That is being used really well. We have had more than 100 people go there to be tested every day. We really want to focus on urging to people to get tested as soon as they have symptoms.
"Even if you have symptoms but are not badly affected, it is important that you get tested and self isolate if you test positive because you could pass it on to a more vulnerable person.”
According to Ms Granger, Sheffield is still well clear of coming close to the levels of infection experienced by places in the country where local lockdownas have had to be enforced.
"When you compare the infection rate in Sheffield to those in areas like Bradford and Greater Manchester you can see it is nowhere near as high,” she said.
The highest infection rate in the country is currently in Northampton, where it is 116.6 new cases per 100,000 people.
Oldham is second with 84.3 and Blackburn and Darwen is third highest with 76.2.
Bradford has an infection rate of 55.2 and Manchester’s is 49.0.