COVID infection rates in Rotherham have now reached their highest level since the start of the pandemic.
Rotherham's Local Outbreak Engagement board announced today a record figure of 573.5 per 100,000 people after rising infection rates across the borough over the past few weeks.
The previous highest rate of infections was recorded during the second wave of the pandemic in October 2020, when the rate reached 537.3 per 100,000.
The infection rate had already reached 549.3 per 100,000 on Thursday with 1,458 new positive cases reported in seven days up until July 16.
Rotherham's director of public health, Ben Anderson, said the latest data was a stark reminder that the virus remained a serious threat to public health.
He added that while the infection rate was currently lower than in neighbouring authority areas, it was well above the national average of 472.3 per 100,000.
Although admissions of the most seriously ill covid patients to Rotherham Hospital have not reached the same level as they did during the previous high – however, they have doubled in the last week, from 14 on July 14 to 28 on July 21.
The latest projections also show the rate is likely to continue to rise over the coming weeks.
Mr Anderson said: "The vaccine has had a huge impact in reducing transmission and serious illness of course, but with few formal restrictions now in place and the highly contagious Delta variant accounting for virtually all new cases, there are still a lot of simple things we can all do as part of our everyday routine to protect ourselves, our families, our workplaces and the NHS.
“Perhaps most importantly of all, please get the vaccine when you can. If you’re unsure, for whatever reason, speak to your doctor, pharmacy or any medical professional.
"More than 70 per cent of residents in Rotherham are now fully vaccinated and much less likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19 or catch it in the first place."
He said it was "everyone's responsibility" to do all they can to support each other.
"The freedoms we have now have been hard-won by people acting responsibly and making covid safety part of their daily routine," he said. "As we learn to live with the virus we will continue to need to adopt some of these measures, especially while local case rates remain high. Let’s keep it up and keep moving forward together.”
To help reduce the spread of the virus, there are simple, day-to-day actions everyone can take, which include:
- Wear a face covering in busy places, indoor venues and on public transport
- Always use the hand-sanitiser provided when you’re shopping or socialising and wash your hands when you get home
- Try and keep a reasonable distance away from other people when you’re out and about, especially indoors, in shops or at work
- If you have visitors, keep windows and doors open as much as possible to let air through or sit outside if the weather is good
- Test yourself regularly – lots of venues are now providing free test kits, including libraries, pharmacies and leisure centres. Always self-isolate at home If you test positive, start to get symptoms or are instructed to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
The latest information on coronavirus in Rotherham is available from the council's website www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus