Despite Barnsley’s figures currently being the lowest in South Yorkshire, director of Public Health for Barnsley, Julia Burrows, says the town is now seeing signs of an upward trend - a message she says is difficult to give.
“In Barnsley, the numbers have not been rising as fast as other areas over the last few weeks, however we’re now seeing signs of an upward trend.
“Our numbers are currently the lowest in South Yorkshire, but they will inevitably rise and unfortunately, we’re seeing hospital admissions starting to rise and tragically we’ll see more deaths over the coming weeks and months.
“This is a difficult message to give, and I do not want to alarm people unnecessarily, but I hope it will encourage you to follow the guidance which will reduce your own risk and help protect your family, friends and family.”
Ms Burrows admits that it is a frustrating and worrying time for us all, but urges residents across the borough to continue following the Prime Minister’s recent guidance - including the rule of six.
“It’s so important that we all continue to follow this guidance,” she added.
“It’s in place to protect your family and friends, to keep schools and businesses open, to protect our NHS services and to stop people from losing their lives to the virus.
“I know it’s a worrying and frustrating time, but it’s crucial we each take responsibility to do everything we can to control the virus in our borough and protect the lives of Barnsley people.
“The stark reality of living through a pandemic of highly infectious disease is that what we choose to do individually will have an impact on the risk for others, so it’s not simply a matter of individual decisions about personal risk-taking.”
Barnsley’s confirmed seven-day rate is currently at 22 per 100,000 population - though a recent rise did see figures rise as high as 30.8 before dropping off to 26 - with young people being the most prominent age group testing positive for the virus.
“The most recent confirmed seven-day rate per 100,000 population is 22,” Ms Burrows said.
“Whereas much of the national increase through September has been most notable in 15-34-year-olds in Barnsley, the spread is more even across age groups.
“We’re not an area of concern, intervention or interest on the government watch list.
“We do not expect to be added to the watch list when it’s updated today, given our recent relatively lower and more stable numbers compared to so many areas of the country.”
According to government figures, 2,370 people in Barnsley have tested positive to date, with 249 coronavirus-related deaths registered to September 11.