In addition to the message around a safe return to schools for children and young people this week from my colleague Mel John Ross I’d like to extend some of these health and wellbeing messages to older residents too.
We’ve recently seen relatively high numbers of positive Covid cases in older age groups, including those aged over 50 and over 60.
We know that as people age, the chances of having an underlying health condition increases, so I urge you to do all you can to look after yourselves and those around you, especially as the cooler autumn weather provides an environment more supportive of coronavirus transmission.
Please continue to follow the basic principles of washing your hands regularly, wearing face coverings in busy indoor spaces such as supermarkets, and keeping one or two metres of space between yourselves and others when out and about. These measures will help protect you from Covid as well as other viruses and infections we’re starting to see more of.
If you are socialising outside of your immediate household, it also remains much safer to do so in small groups and outdoors rather than inside.
As you’ll know, another key way to stay protected is to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and I’m pleased to say that 84.3 percent of eligible Barnsley residents have now had their first dose and 76.9 percent have had their second one.
As well as providing us with some protection from becoming infected, the vaccine can also prevent severe illness and death if we do still become infected. Public Health England estimates that on average the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK are between 91 and 97 per cent effective in preventing hospital admission.
It also reduces the risk of new variants mutating and emerging, and so speeds each of us and all of us towards full recovery from the pandemic.
The more we can do to support each other to be well and to remove COVID-19 from the local, national and global population, the more quickly we can all get over this together.
If you are eligible to get them, please also book in for your COVID-19 booster and your flu vaccine when offered, to keep well over the forthcoming winter months.