Message from Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, Barnsley – 30 October 2020

Our most recent rate of positive COVID-19 tests is 548.9 per 100,000 people in the population (using data for the seven days ending on 24 October). This is a very high rate and one of the highest in the country.

As you know we have seen a steep rate of increase over the past few weeks and we are now seeing hopeful signs the rate of increase is steadying. We need to work hard together to prevent further steep rises and protect vulnerable people in our community.

I’m concerned by the increase in people being hospitalised and the rise in number of people who are in intensive care with COVID-19. This is now extremely serious.

Some of these are people who were infected several weeks ago when our rates were lower. I am very worried that when rates climb, it can only mean more people becoming seriously ill.

I’m joining Barnsley health partners in asking for the support of everyone in our local communities to try and contain the spread of the virus because the fewer patients there are in hospital with COVID-19, the more capacity they will have to continue routine care.

Following the rules does really make the difference and it’s our friends and family who will benefit in the long term.

Staff are working incredibly hard across all parts of the NHS, in GP practices, community, mental health and acute hospital services, to manage the changing situation and we need everyone to help us by: 

  • Limiting the chances of spreading the virus to others. Wash hands, wear a face covering, keep your distance from others and follow the Tier 3 rules.

  • Attending your appointment, routine check-up or operation as planned unless informed otherwise.

  • Speaking to your GP if you are worried about a symptom that could be cancer or any other serious illness. 

  • Only using Accident and Emergency departments if you have an emergency. For all other circumstances you can get advice from NHS 111 for the best place to go for treatment or advice.

Everywhere you go socially, at work or school, act as if everyone you meet could be infected so you do everything you can to protect yourself and others. And remember, the more mixing you do, the more likely you are to become infected and to infect others.

Test and Trace

Defeating COVID-19 involves everyone working together at local and national level and contact tracing is a critical part of the prevention and control of the virus.

The national Test and Trace service helps find people who have the virus and those they may have infected – advising them to self-isolate to quickly break the chain of transmission.

To complement and enhance the work of NHS Test and Trace, members of our Public Health team will be contacting residents who have been identified as testing positive for COVID-19 to offer support and guidance around self-isolation. Over the next few weeks we aim to be able to contact everyone to offer this support as long as we have the right contact details. 

This local approach will also give us really helpful local information about how people are being exposed to COVID-19, and this is continuously informing our approaches to containing the virus.

I know there have been some scams taking place recently so please help us spread the word - if you, your family members or friends receive this message, it is genuine, and action needs to be taken to prevent transmitting this very serious virus throughout our communities. If you receive a text and want to make sure it’s from our Public Health team you can check whether it is legitimate by calling us on (01226) 774666.

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