It is little more than six months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a new virus a global emergency and across the globe the number of new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now approaching 20 million. Case rates continue to rise quickly in Latin America, which has been described as the current epicentre of the pandemic, and in Europe several countries including Spain, France, Germany and Greece are all reporting increasing numbers of cases as they continue to open up after lockdown. A helpful source of global surveillance of COVID-19 includes Our World in Data from the University of Oxford and Global Change Data Lab.
In the UK testing continues to increase and daily rate of new cases has been slowly increasing in recent weeks. Many of the high and increasing rates of new cases have been associated with household spread which has led to the introduction of restrictions in Greater Manchester and areas of West Yorkshire. The situation is dynamic with some places seeing rapid changes in rates of infections. A helpful overview of COVID-19 in England can be found in the weekly report and summary report from Public Health England.
The number of new cases in Barnsley remains low however there has been a week on week rise from 6.9 per 100,000 population week ending 29 July to 11.8 week ending 4 Aug (latest confirmed data available) To compare, the most recent rate reported for England was 9.4 and Yorkshire and Humber overall was 15.5.
We can expect to see weekly fluctuations in the rate of new cases and a rise one week does not necessarily mean increasing community transmission. We continue to monitor testing and cases very closely to support preventative action, such as targeting enhanced testing, and managing outbreaks and clusters.
For the first time since before the lockdown in March there are no Coronavirus (COVID-19) positive inpatients in Barnsley hospital.
At the peak there were 71 positive inpatients including 10 whose condition required mechanical ventilation. The hospital continues to be busy with high levels of emergency demand as well as increasing routine care which had been scaled back in order to manage the pandemic.
This is one of several positive signs that the virus continues to reduce in Barnsley, however the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) persists and we need to continue to work together to minimise the risk of transmission in Barnsley whilst supporting local people, communities and businesses.