Half-term alert as Covid hits peak

ROTHERHAM’S public health director encouraged families to continue Covid tests in half-term as cases hit a new record — with most being among under-18s.

The local figure stood at over 593 per 100,000 population this week, compared with 538 last November and 588 at the height of summer 2021.

Four further Covid-related deaths by Tuesday (19) took the borough’s total since the start of the pandemic to 832.

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Public health director Ben Anderson warned: “We have now reached our highest reported case rate of the pandemic.

“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.”

Since September, pupils have been taking regular lateral flow tests at home and taking PCR tests after contact with someone who has tested positive.

Mr Anderson’s letter encourages this to continue during the week-long break, as well as urging more people to have the vaccine and follow guidance on social distancing and face coverings.

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Call 119 to have lateral flow tests delivered, or pick them up from community collection points like pharmacies, leisure centres and libraries using a code obtained from gov.uk/get-collect-code.

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

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