Testing plea issued to residents as Covid-19 infections reach 'worrying' all-time high

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Health bosses have issued a plea for Rotherham residents to get tested for Covid-19, as infection rates reach an all-time high.

Infection rates in Rotherham as of October 18 stand at 593 per 100,000 population and are predicted to increase further in the coming days. There are currently 1,573 live cases of COVID-19 across Rotherham.

The borough has also seen four further COVID related deaths since Monday, October 11, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 832.

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Parents and grandparents of children attending school are also being advised to get regular tests and ensure they get vaccinated to help prevent getting seriously ill with COVID-19.

Ben Anderson.Ben Anderson.
Ben Anderson.

Ben Anderson, Rotherham’s director of public health, has written to all Rotherham parents via schools this week, urging them to continue testing, to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and to follow Government guidance around face coverings and social distancing.

He said: “We have now reached our highest reported case rate of the pandemic. We are currently at 593.6 per 100,000 people which is higher than previous peaks of the virus.

“In comparison, Rotherham reached 538 at the pre-Christmas peak last November and 588 in this summer’s peak in July.

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“The infection rate in people aged over 60 continues to be of serious concern and is now 317 per 100,000 – still much higher than the national average, and we are just starting to see a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital locally with 42 as of Monday 18 October.

“This is worrying, especially as we enter winter illness season, as this age group is more at risk of becoming critically ill with COVID-19 and many other seasonal illnesses, leading to hospitalisation and, potentially, death.

“Around 60 per cent of the cases being reported are occurring in the 18 years old and under cohort, and this is now leading to spread within households and families.

“During half term when children are most likely to be mixing with other family members, this could lead to a further increase of cases within family groups. Unfortunately, this could lead to some grandparents and vulnerable adults becoming ill with the virus.

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“Getting tested regularly and taking preventative measures gives families peace of mind so when they are meeting, they know their risk of catching the virus is minimised. If a child or family member tests positive, then you know not to meet with them, and they must self-isolate at home.”

For information about testing, see: https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus