HEALTH bosses have revealed there has been a ‘concerning’ rise in new coronavirus cases in the last week - after four care homes recorded an outbreak in Barnsley.

The town’s seven-day rate of new cases per 100,000 people in Barnsley stands at 20.4, compared to the average across the Yorkshire and Humber region of 19.1.

Four care homes across the borough currently have coronavirus outbreaks, along with seven single-case situations - with 12 of the 16 new recent cases being linked to care homes.

Julia Burrows, director of public health for Barnsley Council, said: “The rise in new cases is concerning, and we must continue to monitor these to understand trends and work together to ensure we are doing everything possible to prevent local outbreaks.

“Barnsley does not feature in this week’s list of local authority watchlist areas and is not an area of concern.

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“The daily incidence rate ratio (IRR) is now above one, which indicates evidence that there is an increasing trend in the numbers of recent Covid-19 cases after normalising for the number of tests.”

The town is the second-worst hit in the region, only behind Bradford - a city still in a local lockdown - according to the overall rate per 100,000.

“It is important that through enhanced testing that situations are identified early to avoid possible outbreaks,” Ms Burrows added.

“Of the 16 new cases in recent days, 12 are associated with care homes.

“The other new cases are in workplaces, including an education setting relating to a member of facilities staff.

“The rate of testing in Barnsley continues to be high - the seven-day positivity rate has increased to 2.6 per cent which remans similar to the average across the region.”

Barnsley Council is also in the process of developing a follow-up service for residents with coronavirus which aims to build on the ‘Test and Trace’ service - using tailored approaches based on local intelligence and assets.

“Although details are to be confirmed, services being considered include follow-up for new cases that the national Test and Trace service are unable to contact, interventions to support self-isolation, follow-up of uncontactable contacts and welfare checks for new cases,” Ms Burrows added.

“This work is being led by Barnsley Council using a whole-council approach, but aims to and would to like to work best as a Barnsley system-wide service.

“This is a rapidly revolving piece of work, and further updates will be provided in the Barnsley intelligence reports and through direct contact with partners across the borough.”

Health bosses are also continuing to appeal to residents to socially distance - even inside someone’s home - from anyone not in your household or ‘bubble’ after the town saw signs of coronavirus cases creeping up.

Julia said: “There is no real pattern to cases across Barnsley, but we look at each one to check we are not missing anything.

“As I’ve said before things can change quickly and numbers fluctuate - it an be affected by things like a couple of households all getting the virus, which puts the weekly figure up, especially while the overall numbers are relatively low.

“It remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.”