'Major incident' declared in Doncaster as Covid rate hits highest since pandemic began

Health and care services say there is 'real pressure' across the board as a result of rising Covid patients and staff absences. Credit: PA

A 'major incident' has been declared in Doncaster after Covid rates reached their highest level in the town since the start of the pandemic.

There were 2,403.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to 9th January and cases in the over-60s have increased ten-fold in the past three weeks.

Health and care services in the town say there is 'real pressure' across the board as a result of the rapid increase in Covid-19 patients, and there are staff absences of up to 50 percent.

Seventy-five per cent of the town's care homes are also dealing with a coronavirus outbreak meaning they are closed to new admissions.

Director of Public Health for Doncaster Council Dr Rupert Suckling explains why a major incident has been declared and what it means for the health service:

It has led to a ' local business continuity major incident' being declared by an organisation made up of public services across Doncaster.

That will see more staff sharing between services and could lead to some non-urgent operations being cancelled.

Director of Public Health Dr Rupert Suckling said: "The transmission of Covid-19 in Doncaster is currently soaring and these are rates we have not seen anything like at any other point in the pandemic.

"We do not see this pattern changing in the immediate future, for example we will not see the impact of schools going back in our data for a couple more weeks so that is something we will be keeping a close eye on.

"It does appear that the Omicron variant is less severe, and we are seeing fewer people in ITU than in previous waves which is encouraging but we do find ourselves in a major incident and still seeing a significant number of people unwell with Covid-19 and ending up in hospital.

"Combined with a high rate of staff absence this causes a real challenge to our NHS partners and our health and care services are now increasingly under pressure."

Top ten Covid rates in our region (per 100,000 people, 7 days up to 9th Jan):

  • Barnsley - 2,682.4

  • Wakefield - 2,608.7

  • Rotherham - 2,582.8

  • Doncaster - 2,403.6

  • Derbyshire - 2,204

  • Kirklees - 2,192

  • Calderdale - 2,173.2

  • Leeds - 2,095.7

  • Sheffield - 2,075.5

  • Nottinghamshire - 2,061.9

People in Doncaster are being urged to get vaccinated, wear a face covering in indoor settings, have effective ventilation, test regularly with lateral flows and get a PCR test if they have Covid symptoms.

It comes as there are also fears over the Covid rate in over 60s in neighbouring Rotherham, which has doubled in the last week.

The town's Director of Public Health Ben Anderson says he expects the case rates to continue to rise for the next seven to 10 days, before they peak.