Pupils test positive for Covid-19 on first week back as health chief predicts town's drop in cases will slow

Doncaster’s top public health boss has revealed positive Covid-19 cases have already been detected in schools and he expects the rate of infection to ‘stabalise’ for some weeks.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 5:13 pm
School pupils

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health at Doncaster Council, said that from March 8 when schools reopened, 95 per cent of primary schools had returned and 40 per cent of secondary pupils were in school but this was in a phased approach.

He told a recent health and wellbeing board meeting that some bubbles had to be closed as a result of cases being picked up from in-school testing which is now available through lateral flow tests in secondaries.

But the health boss said the picture was better due to the phased reopening of society and the fact the vaccination programme was having a positive impact on infection rates.

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Dr Suckling did warn when Doncaster last had the current rate of 100 infections per 100,000 people back in September 2020, it took just three weeks for cases to rocket to 600 infections per 100,000.

The meeting was also told the vaccination programme was working and coronavirus rates in over 60s is half of what the national average is and at one point, it was double that before the roll-out.

Doncaster’s official infection rate as of Thursday, March 11 stood at 98.8 infections per 100,000 with different rates across the borough.

Tickhill & Wadworth and the Edenthorpe and Mere Lane areas recorded less than three positive cases in a week. But the area encompassing Stainforth had the highest rates in the borough with 16 positive cases totalling 205 infections per 100,000.

“In terms of reopening and easing those restrictions this week, I don’t expect our case rates to fall much further,” Dr Suckling said.

“That’s because even though cases in the over 60s may continue to fall, we will definitely identify more cases in children, this week as they returned to school tested, particularly in that secondaries and there are already schools that have had to close bubbles because they have found positive cases.

“So I think over the next sort of fortnight we’ll probably see some sort of stabilisation in terms of case rates.

“But having said that, it does mean that we have time to plan for what’s coming up so next dates in the future roadmap are the March 29, and then more importantly for many people will be April 12 where lots of retail will reopen gyms and pubs will be able to serve outdoor hospitality.”

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