Public Health England has designated Sheffield as an ‘Area of Enhanced Support’ following continued rises in Coronavirus infections.
Sheffield Designated Coronavirus ‘Area of Enhanced Support’
The government’s Public Health agency have added Sheffield to its ‘Areas of Enhanced Support’ list as COVID-19 infection rates have continued to rise.
The list highlights locations the government is concerned about, based on coronavirus infection rates and other local information.
Sheffield’s latest seven-day infection rate on was 105.3 cases per 100,000 people, up from 70.6 the previous week.
Ok Sheffield. We were in time out, but some continued ignoring the rules and now we are on the naughty step.
This is our last chance, stick to the rules before we are grounded!
Keep your distance, wear a😷wash your🤲Keep social⭕️small. Symptoms? isolate & get a test #WeGotThis— SheffieldCityCouncil (@SheffCouncil) October 2, 2020
What is an ‘Area of Enhanced Support’?
Categories the government department uses include ‘Area of Concern’, ‘Areas of Enhanced Support’ and ‘Areas of Intervention’.
Sheffield was originally added to the ‘Area of Concern’ watchlist three weeks ago. As infection rates have continued to increase, Sheffield has been escalated to the next step.
At this stage no local lockdowns are in place, but if infection rates don’t reduce the city could soon be further escalated to the next stage as an ‘Area of Intervention’, which would see a local lockdown implemented.
What does being an ‘Area of Enhanced Support’ mean for Sheffield?
An ‘Area of Enhanced Support’ is categorised as medium to high risk and means the city must have a detailed plan to tackle infection rates which is agreed with the government.
Sheffield’s Coronavirus Prevention and Management Board continue to investigate where extra support might be needed. Measures taken so far include the doubling of testing sites across the city since July.
Authorities may increase local testing, place further prevention interventions into certain settings and work to improve track and trace measures.
It is likely that increased testing and other interventions will take place in the areas of the city where infection rates are highest.
The Sheffield Local Outbreak Support Plan outlines how the Board works.
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis asks people to play their part
Dan Jarvis, the mayor of Sheffield City Region, has called on the public to play their part in helping to reduce infection rates as we approach winter:
“We’ll have a very tough winter ahead of us if we don’t act now and slow the spread of coronavirus.
“If case numbers continue to increase, we won’t hesitate to call on the government to bring in local lockdown measures.”Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region
Previously, the Mayor had called for military support in the region to assist with logistics such as test and trace. In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock he said:
“Now is the moment to act decisively, before we see more lives, jobs and businesses across South Yorkshire put at risk.
“For this reason, I would strongly urge you to immediately utilise the excellent, strategic capabilities within our Armed Forces to help manage the current crisis regarding testing.
“The country must draw upon every resource at its disposal if we are to manage the risk posed by Covid in the days, weeks and months ahead.”Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region
In response The Department of Health and Social Care said “the vast majority of the public” had no issues with the current processes:
“NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale.
“This is a team effort, and we are working very closely with local councils, including in South Yorkshire, to provide additional support such as walk-through test sites, mobile testing units, as well as dedicated contact tracers”
The Department of Health and Social Care
Response from Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council
The city’s Director of Public Health has responded to the news of Sheffield’s upgraded status. Here is his message in full:
“Sheffield is still very much in the grip of a pandemic, it is clear we are not out of the woods yet, and as such we need to keep playing our part to keep each other safe as the pandemic continues to have a presence in our communities. We are trying to balance the impact of a dangerous virus with getting back to some form of normal, but if we continue to see a rise in cases, we will be designated an area of intervention with far stricter measures in place.
“The virus is very easily transmitted and as we have seen from earlier in the year carries a significant mortality risk. This is why it is still important to go back to basics; to keep washing your hands, wearing a face covering, limit social contact and to isolate if you have Covid-19 symptoms.
“We welcome the decision to make Sheffield an area of enhanced support. This is all about support, not restrictions at this point in time. There will not be extra rules affecting how any of us live and work in the city.
“I would reassure our residents that Sheffield is still a safe place in which to live, work and visit. The extra measures mean we can now draw on additional Government support, to obtain swifter data and testing, to support our local efforts.
“Thank you to everyone in the city who has been following advice on hand washing and social distancing, which has ensured that we do not have a serious, wider problem across our communities.“If you are contacted by test and trace, please isolate for the stated period and get tested as soon as possible if you have symptoms. You will be playing a crucial part in keeping coronavirus under control.”Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council
What you can do
Sheffield City Council reiterate the following important messages for people to do their bit:
- Stay at home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild (this is what makes the most difference). We know that 50% of people with symptoms don’t stay at home so this is the biggest difference you can make.
- Keep your distance, 2m where possible.
- Wash your hands with soap and hot water.
- Wear a face covering in enclosed indoor spaces.
- Don’t be a contact and avoid the need to isolate.
- If you have symptoms, GET A TEST.
- If you are asked to isolate, it does mean you must stay at home.
If you have any of the following symptoms, arrange a test here
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
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