Top Doncaster health chief: 'No clear setting for transmission but we're definitely seeing it in schools'

There is no clear setting in which the virus is spreading to people in Doncaster, the council’s top public health boss has said.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 12:30 pm

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health said clusters and outbreaks had happened in ‘all sorts of areas’ including schools and workplaces.

Dr Suckling defended pubs and restaurants in Doncaster and said many of them had ‘bent over backwards’ in order for them to be Covid secure.

He added that the hospitality industry was likely to be drawn into the firing line because of the Government’s intention to keep schools and many workplaces like retail open.

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Dr Rupert Suckling

“What we’re seeing is, we are definitely seeing it in schools, if that then causes more infection in the over 65’s, it is not really known, there isn’t enough evidence to make that determination at the moment,” he said.

“We are also seeing it in workplaces. The decision is to keep schools open and I agree with that so that’s off the table. Workplaces is another so if that’s also off the table then it would all go on the hospitality industry.

“We know in Doncaster a lot of our pubs and restaurants have bent over backwards through extra measures to stop the spread. There are some places that break the rules but this is largely done unwillingly and with a bit of support they do the right thing.

“It feels like a sledgehammer to crack a nut to be quite honest.”

Dr Suckling also said that there wasn’t one particular geographical area of the borough that jumped out as a place for an infection hotspot.

“We look at all the settings where there are clusters and outbreaks and we’ve seen it across all sorts of areas of the borough.

“There is not one setting that I’m worried about - in terms of the geography it’s pretty evenly spread across the borough. There isn’t a particular area but most follow where residents live in bigger population centres.”

Across hospitals in Doncaster and Mexborough, there are around 97 people in hospital with Covid-19. The last time it was that high was late May.

Cases in Doncaster increased by 60 per cent when comparing the last two weeks of October.

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