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Council encourages families to get tested throughout half term as case numbers climb


Rotherham Council is encouraging families across Rotherham to continue to test for COVID-19, isolate, and take care to reduce the transmission of the virus during half term as infection rates reach their highest in the borough since the pandemic began.

Current infection rates in Rotherham on Monday 18 October stand at 593.6 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 4 further COVID related deaths since Monday 11 October, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 832.

Since September, children and young people at secondary school have been doing a fantastic job in helping to keep COVID out of the classroom by taking regular Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests at home or by getting a PCR test after being in contact with someone who has tested positive. But as case numbers increase, it is important that they continue this great work during the holidays to help protect family and friends, especially as they take holidays and meet up over the break.

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

Rotherham’s Director of Public Health, Ben Anderson, 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.

“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% 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. 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.”

Residents who have no symptoms of COVID-19 can get LFDs delivered to their door by going online to www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or by calling 119.

LFDs can also be picked up from pharmacies and local community collection points, including libraries and leisure centres. If you are collecting LFDs from a pharmacy, you will need to use a collect code when you pick up your tests. Get your code at https://gov.uk/get-collect-code.

Contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are strongly advised to get a PCR test by getting a home test kit delivered to their door or by booking an appointment at a local test site. Further information about getting a PCR test is online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Further information about testing is also available at www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Tom Austen
Tom grew up in Aston, Rotherham and studied Human Geography at Nottingham Trent University before developing a passion for promoting Rotherham and a nose for a good story.


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