Doncaster health chief advises continued mask use on return to covid plan A

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Doncaster’s director of public health is advising people to continue using face coverings in busy, enclosed spaces for instance while case rates are so high.

In his weekly letter to the Doncaster public Dr Rupert Suckling told people to be cautious as the Government announced the removal of plan B measures.

He said: “We’ve seen another reduction in our figures compared to last week, but our transmission rates still remain some of the highest we’ve seen during the pandemic. Our rate stands at 1163.1 per 100,000 for the period 8-14 January.

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“Many of our age groups have also seen reductions in their rates too, with the exception of school age children; particularly those in primary schools.

Dr Rupert SucklingDr Rupert Suckling
Dr Rupert Suckling

“There have been outbreaks in different primary schools across the borough recently and whilst we knew that the pupil’s return following the Christmas break would lead to increased transmissions, it’s important we all do what we can to keep everyone safe and keep our schools open.

“With this in mind, I’d encourage parents of primary age children to test themselves twice a week. If your child is showing any symptoms, please keep them off school and book a PCR test.

“We also know a number of cases in children have been asymptomatic, so if you become aware of a case in your child’s class, it may be worth testing your child too.

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“We’re working closely with our schools to provide advice and guidance during this time. I know they are doing all they can to keep both pupils and staff safe and to ensure they can continue to welcome our children and young people into the classroom every day.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced the removal of Plan B measures and a full return to the Winter Plan A from next Thursday (27 January).

This means that people will no longer be advised to work from home, face coverings will no longer be mandatory in indoor venues, and organisations will be able to choose whether to require NHS Covid Passes.

Isolation requirements are still in place however for anyone who tests positive; A reminder that you can stop self-isolating after 5 full days provided you have negative tests results on days 5 and 6.

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Dr Suckling said: “I understand the removal of Plan B measures and the return to Plan A will be welcomed by some and may cause concern for others. Just because these restrictions are being lifted does not mean you have to make changes immediately; I’d still advise face coverings in busy, enclosed spaces for instance while our case rates are so high.

“It’s important we all do what we can to balance the risks in whatever we’re doing, such as ensuring ventilation when meeting with family and friends and washing hands regularly, to help to control the transmission of the virus.

“By continuing to follow isolation guidance, testing regularly and coming forward for our jabs we can all play a part in keeping Doncaster as safe as possible as we move forward.”