Public health boss speaks out after Rotherham hits list of highest Covid-19 infection rates

ROTHERHAM'S director of public health moved to reassure the public last night after a government report revealed the borough was among the top 10 with the highest increases in Covid-19 infection rates.
Teresa Roche, Rotherham Council's director of public healthTeresa Roche, Rotherham Council's director of public health
Teresa Roche, Rotherham Council's director of public health

ROTHERHAM'S director of public health spoke out last night after a government report revealed the borough was among the top 10 with the highest Covid-19 infection rate.

Teresa Roche stressed that the infection rates in Rotherham were a lot lower than Leicester, which has been placed in "local lockdown" after a surge of cases, but insisted officials were not being complacent. 

Ahead of lockdown measures being eased further nationally this Saturday, with pubs and restaurants beginning to reope, data released by Public Health England's data on testing between June 15 and 21 showed which areas had the fastest rises in new coronavirus cases.

The figures, which include the number of swab tests in laboratories and NHS hospitals for those in a clincial need, as well as swab testing of the wider population, showed there were 33.6 new cases per every 100,000 people in Rotherham, ther seventh highest "7-day infection rate" in the country. 

Leicester topped the list with 140.2 new cases per 100,000 people and nearby Barnsley had also made the top three with 54.7.

However, new data obtained and published today by MP Alexander Stafford showed the rate appeared to have dropped significantly over the following week.

The Rother Valley MP Tweeted a table from a new Public Health England report, showing the seven-day rate of Covid-19 infections in Rotherham had dropped to 22.3 for June 21 to 27, a fall of a third in the rate of new cases.


PHE has published a report into the situation in Leicester. While Rotherham is within this highest 10 areas with a rate of 22.3 the data shows clearly that the rate of infection fell from last week. I am speaking to the Health Minister as well as the Rotherham NHS later on today

— Alexander Stafford MP (@Alex_Stafford) July 2, 2020


Figures for June 22 to 28 showed the 7-day rate had climbed slightly to 26.1 per 100,000.

Ms Roche said: "You will have seen in the news that Leicester has been placed back into stricter lockdown measures, and that other places have been highlighted as having relatively high Covid-19 rates of infection. 

"Rotherham has been one of the towns mentioned, but it is important for me to reassure you that recent rates of infection in Rotherham are far lower than those in Leicester.

"However, we cannot be complacent and we want to see the rates reduce further. With that in mind, we continue to emphasise the importance of keeping a safe distance and of hand washing, especially with an eye on this weekend when pubs and restaurants begin to reopen.

"The council will be promoting more communications to this effect over the coming days and weeks. 

"As all other councils are doing, we are following our local outbreak control plan."