Message from Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, Barnsley – 20 October 2020

Rising Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Barnsley

In Barnsley, the current seven-day rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 people is 355 and climbing. This means that around 875 people are becoming infected with COVID-19 in Barnsley every week.

There’s now a real likelihood of further Government intervention resulting in more restrictions to our lives and livelihoods.

Rising COVID-19 cases are again striking Barnsley’s older age groups

While national reports have been emphasising the rise in cases in younger adults, particularly students, this doesn’t reflect the situation in Barnsley.

We are seeing around 215 people aged 60 years and older getting infected in Barnsley each week. This is serious; the situation in our borough is rapidly escalating and infection rates are spreading from young to working-age adults and also older people, affecting Barnsley’s most vulnerable residents.

Reduce your risk

We’ve also seen lots of household and community transmission across the borough rather than outbreaks in any one location. Keep yourself safe by acting as if everyone you meet could potentially be infectious –and as the number of cases keep rising, there is a real risk that when you are out about your chance of being in contact with an infectious person is more real.   

Restrict the numbers of people you come into contact with, and where you do see other people stay two metres apart.  Keep your house safe – wash your hands as soon as you arrive home. 

Act as if you might be infectious yourself – wear a face-covering whenever in public, keep your distance and wash your hands regularly.

If you are vulnerable due to your health or your age, act now to restrict the number of contacts you have. The more you stay at home, the less risk you have.

If you work in a frontline role, precautions should be in place. A message to all employers is to think again about any further precautions you can take to keep your workforce and/or customers safe, and this will help safeguard your business too.

The reality of the virus

The increase in cases across all age ranges means that this is translating into a more severe virus, with increasing hospitalisations, intensive care admissions, and deaths.

We are already seeing people who are clinically extremely vulnerable (those previously on the shielded list) become infected, and this is also likely to grow.

Self-isolation means you must stay at home

I know there are lots of factors to consider when you’re asked to self-isolate. It has an impact on your work and home life responsibilities but it’s a legal requirement to self-isolate - you could be fined if you do not self-isolate.

There’s financial and wellbeing support available for you if you need to self-isolate. Find out more on our website.

You should self-isolate immediately if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk.

Self-isolate means that you must not leave your home:

  • do not go to work, school, or public places – work from home if you can
  • do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one – this includes walking your dog, etc.

Please make sure you read the detailed guidance on how long to self-isolate for on the government’s website.

Children and self-isolating

If someone tests positive for COVID-19 in your child’s bubble and they've been in the setting during the infectious period, you'll be informed by the setting and may be asked to self-isolate your child for 14 days. This means that your child does not leave the house. They must not meet up with their friends or go outside with you e.g. to go shopping. 

The rest of your household does not need to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms.

You don't need to get your child tested for COVID-19 unless they start displaying symptoms, such as a new continuous cough, a fever or loss of taste or smell. 

If your child goes on to develop symptoms, book them a test and continue to self-isolate them following the guidance above. The rest of your household should now also self-isolate following the guidance above.

Follow the official guidance

I know that there is a lot of information available in the media and on social media giving conflicting data sources, facts and figures, and general information. I ask that you follow my updates for local information as well as official Government and Public Health England sources such as:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-track-coronavirus-cases 

We also have our own local data page at www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/health-and-wellbeing/covid-19-coronavirus/covid-19-coronavirus-cases-and-deaths-in-barnsley/

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