THE number of patients at Barnsley Hospital with coronavirus remains high despite dwindling Covid rates - and death and severe illness will continue, according to the town’s director of public health.

Latest figures show that there were 43 patients in Barnsley Hospital as of last Friday - and seven people were on ventilation.

Since the start of the pandemic there have been more than 3,000 people admitted to Barnsley Hospital with the virus - more than 100 of those were admitted last month.

These figures are high compared to June when just over 20 people were admitted, showing that figures are currently on the rise.

Julia Burrows, the town’s director of public health, admits there are a number of residents at Barnsley Hospital with ‘severe’ Covid, and states that the best way to keep yourself and others safe is to be vaccinated.

She said: “There continues to be people with severe Covid illness who are in hospital in Barnsley, including many that require intensive care.

“Vaccines are proven to provide the best protection from Covid-19, but severe illness and death are likely to continue with such high rates.

“As well as severe illness, these very high case rates continue to cause major disruption to people, communities and services as the country continues to open up now that restrictions have eased.

“Overall, more people are having to isolate as more people are testing positive or are close contacts to positive cases.”

Nearly three quarters of Barnsley’s adults are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, figures that Ms Burrows hopes will slow down the town’s rising rates.

Almost 150,000 people have had both doses of the coronavirus vaccine - a total of 73.2 per cent of Barnsley’s adult population.

More than 171,000 residents aged 18 and over have had at least one dose of the vaccine - almost 84 per cent.

Hundreds of people are being vaccinated every day in Barnsley across the town’s services.

Since the start of the programme in December more than 320,000 doses have been administered.

Barnsley’s current coronavirus rate is 380 per 100,000 people - with almost 1,000 residents testing positive for the virus in the last seven days.

These figures have drastically dropped in the last few weeks from the town’s peak of 813.4 where more than 2,000 people were testing positively every week, though Ms Burrows remains wary of high rates.

“Whilst there appears to be an improving picture, it is important to recognise that the rate remains very high compared to the previous peaks in positive cases,” she added.

“This decrease could be due to a number of factors such as less testing, the end of the impact from people mixing during the Euros and the good weather meaning more people have been meeting outside.”