As the country prepares to move to Step 4 of the Roadmap, where most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 will be lifted, Rotherham’s Director of Public Health, Ben Anderson, provides us with an update:
“As with the rest of the UK, the rate of COVID-19 is increasing rapidly in Rotherham with the doubling time now at 7 to 9 days. The current rate is 218.2 per 100,000, which is slightly lower than the UK average, but this perhaps reflects the fact that Rotherham has often been a little behind the national trend throughout the pandemic.
“The vaccination programme is clearly making a significant difference in preventing many people from becoming seriously ill, but over the next few weeks we are anticipating that the infection rate will increase and will continue to do so into the summer holidays. Inevitably with more cases we will see some hospitalisations and potentially, sadly, deaths.
“Whilst the majority of cases are in the 15- 35 age group in Rotherham, over the past week, we have also seen a rise in cases within older age groups.
“The effectiveness of the vaccine is clear with those who are vaccinated with one or two doses showing milder symptoms and being much less likely to need hospital treatment. However, we know that vaccines aren’t 100% effective and that there are still around 6000 unvaccinated people aged over 50 in the Borough. Rising case rates will see some of these individuals affected.
“Overall, there are around 35,000 adults in Rotherham still to be vaccinated with one dose, which leaves a large pool of susceptible people for the virus to continue to circulate in, so we are not through this yet.
“Both the Hospital and our GPs are hard at work, but they are under significant pressure at the moment. More people catching COVID-19 will add to that pressure.
“Whilst those yet to be vaccinated tend to be younger there is still a risk of more severe disease and the concern of long-COVID so I want to encourage every adult who hasn’t already had their vaccination to get theirs as soon as possible.
“You can get the jab locally by calling Rotherham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group on 0300 3035258. We have also been working with the CCG to organise ‘walk-up’ vaccination centres across the borough where people can attend without appointments.”