PEOPLE of working age are being urged to get tested for coronavirus if they are showing symptoms after an increase in cases — believed to be connected to the new variant.
Seven-day testing up to February 13 showed 586 people tested positive for Covid in Rotherham — up five from the previous week — and the new Kent variant accounted for virtually all new cases in the town.
Rotherham Council’s director of public health, Ben Anderson, said the overall infection rate across the borough was still significantly higher than the national average.
Locally, as of Sunday, the infection rate was 186.1 per 100,000 people — down 13 per cent on the previous week.
He said: “Residents have done a fantastic job stopping the spread of Covid to the most vulnerable, and we’re glad there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not there yet.”
Mr Anderson said the highest virus increases were found to be in people of working age, those between 18 to 60.
“There are concerns the new, more transmissible Kent variant is spreading within this age group, which may relate to the need to travel to and attend workplaces or wider community transmission,” he added.
“We know businesses are doing a great job keeping staff safe, but increased transmissibility of the current variant and increased interactions amongst those needing to work means residents are still picking up the virus when they are going to work or out in the community.”
To date, 18,750 people in Rotherham have tested positive for Covid-19 and 763 have died.
Mr Anderson said it was still important people followed the guidelines around hands, face, space in places of work, out in the community or on public transport.
“As we enter into the next few months, we all want this to be over as quickly as possible,” he added.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is that everyone follows the guidelines and abides by lockdown rules, otherwise we will not make as much progress as we all want as quickly as we can.”
Residents of all ages should get tested if they are showing the core symptoms of a new persistent cough, temperature and a loss of taste or smell.
As a precaution, the council is also asking residents to get tested who have headaches, aches and pains, feeling very tired for no reason, a sore throat, runny nose or sneezing.
To book a test, go to www.nhs.gov.uk/coronavirus, or call 119.
Visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus for further information and support.