THE number of Barnsley Hospital patients with Covid has reached its highest point since February, with health bosses warning that the pandemic continues to cause ‘severe harm’.

Coronavirus infection rates for over 60s in Barnsley have also more than doubled in the last month.

As of October 3, the infection rate of residents aged between 60 and 64 was 252.4 per 100,000 residents - but around a month later figures have almost doubled to 492.1, a slight drop from earlier this month.

In the first ten days of November, almost 1,500 Barnsley residents were confirmed to have the virus, bringing the total number of cases to more than 45,000 since the pandemic’s start.

The town’s current rate is 464 per 100,000 people - and residents aged between 60 and 64, and those aged over 90 - who have an infection rate of 488.3 - are both above the town’s overall average.

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The number of patients in hospital with the virus is also rapidly rising, with the figure closing in on 100 for the first time since February.

Last Thursday, the number of patients in hospital with Covid reached 85 - the highest figure since February 25 - and a week later, it’s 81.

The number of people on ventilation beds is nine.

A Barnsley Council spokesperson said: “The pandemic is still very real and continues to cause severe harm locally in Barnsley, across the UK, and around the world.

“While the vaccine is protective, the combination or rising overall rates, rising rates in the over 60s, waning immunity from infection and vaccinations, and the wider impact of winter and from other diseases, mean that we are all exposed to very serious risk and the people must vulnerable in our borough are taking the brunt of it.

“Covid-19 is now very much an additional source of harm on top of all the usual risks to health, especially during winter.”

The number of people having the coronavirus jab in Barnsley continues to rise, with more than 800 people having their first dose so far this month - though less than 300 have had their second jab.

More than a quarter of youngsters between 12 and 15 have had their first dose of the vaccine - a figure that continues to rise.

Both first and second doses uptake rates in Barnsley are also well above the national average, as more than 80 per cent have had one jab, and more than three quarters are now fully jabbed.

“As we all know, there is no method that is 100 per cent effective in stopping us from catching or passing on Covid-19, but by following all the safe measures we have available we can significantly reduce the risk,” the council added.

“Vaccines simultaneously reduce the risk of transmission to others, getting the infection yourself, experiencing severe symptoms and death from Covid-19.

“Yes, you can still be infected, pass on the virus, or be hospitalised - but you are far less likely to be, compared to if you were not vaccinated.

“Getting the vaccine provides you and the people around you the best protection against severe illness and, sadly, deaths caused by Covid-19.”