Health chief optimistic as “vanishingly few” Sheffield Covid cases end up in hospital

Sheffield could get back to some normality once the Covid vaccination programme is fully completed, says the city’s health chief.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:02 pm

Director of Public Health Greg Fell said summer would be a balancing act of managing outbreaks and fully opening up society but he was optimistic about restrictions easing.

He told a council meeting: “Government clearly wants to return to some semblance of normality so we’ll be in this tricky space of managing cases with the social and economic consequences of the blunt measures to control cases.

“Most people with symptoms who get a positive test result are pretty well, there are vanishingly few people admitted to hospital at the moment so long may that continue.

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Greg Fell.

“In the northwest of England, where they are a month ahead of us in terms of the rise of the Delta variants, there is still relatively little hospitalisation.

“That will probably get us into a space where we’re in good shape for what happens in autumn and winter where we all go back inside and coronaviruses tend to be seasonal.”

Mr Fell said it was uncertain how autumn and winter would play out but he remained optimistic.

“Two or three months ago medical officers were predicting an autumn wave, which would be consistent with what the epidemiology was telling us, but the Delta variant has obviously taken over and accelerated that.

“It might be that we won’t see much further harm and add into that, the speed of the vaccination programme which is nothing short of astonishing.

“I think we’re going to get into a space where we’ll probably be able to have something akin to normality.

“Once the vaccination programme has been fully completed, I think requirements on social distancing will be slowly downtraded although masks will probably remain for a while.”

Mr Fell said almost all of the cases at the moment were secondary school children and adults under 35.

He said asking pupils to start wearing face masks in schools again until the end of term would help quash outbreaks but that measure alone wasn’t enough to completely stop the spread.