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Local News

‘It’s too soon’: The Yorkshire Covid hotspot not ready for Freedom Day

today17/07/2021

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People living and working in a Barnsley town were surprised by the area’s high coronavirus infection rate, but said they are worried about restrictions lifting on Monday.

Cases in Wombwell North, Barnsley have soared recently, with Public Health England data reporting there were 97 new cases reported in the week leading up to July 10. This was an increase of 2.1% on the previous week.

The area currently has an infection rate of 1,240.3 per 100,000 people – one of the highest in Yorkshire.

READ MORE: Fit and active Sheffield man, 25, endures terrifying week in hospital with ‘every Covid symptom’

Barnsley is currently seeing the highest rates across Yorkshire, recording 1,823 cases in the week before July 10. After Wombwell North, Monk Bretton now has an infection rate of 1,137.9 per 100,000 people.

In Wombwell North, 79.6% of all adults have had their first dose of their vaccine, and 63.2% have had their second dose.

YorkshireLive visited Wombwell today to find out what people thought of the high case rates and their feelings about restrictions being lifted on Monday July 19.

To get the latest email updates from South Yorkshire Live, click here .



Wombwell high street
Both Wombwell North and South had more than 90 cases last week

Most people were learning for the first time that infections in their area were particularly high, with many saying they assumed the whole country was bad.

Wombwell resident Doreen Watford, 72, said she’s very careful and mostly stays in, so hasn’t been aware of whether people are following restrictions.

However, she said: “A lot of people have said they don’t want the vaccine, and I have seen people not wearing masks.

“It does worry me,” she said when asked about restrictions lifting on July 19.

“It’s gone on so long now though. You have to just keep protecting yourself and being careful. I don’t think anything will be properly safe ever again now – we’ll have to keep getting vaccinated every year.”

Enter your postcode for the latest Covid-19 data for your area

YorkshireLive caught up with Ian Cartwright, 74, while he watered his plants. Wombwell’s high cases were news to him, but he said he “wasn’t surprised”.

He said: “We wear masks inside and outside. I am worried about restrictions ending, I think it’s too soon while cases are still going up.”

Shannon Parry, 22, is a community support worker in Wombwell. She said she “hadn’t really noticed” cases were so high.

“When I go into town people do seem to be taking precautions and social distancing,” she said.

“But especially with my job, I make sure to wear my mask. I am a bit nervous about restrictions ending on Monday – they shouldn’t be taking away masks when cases are getting higher and higher.”

Local Wombwell councillor James Higginbottom was aware of the area’s case rate, and said the whole of Barnsley is working hard to bring it down.



Nikki, support worker
Nikki, 36, was one of many in Wombwell who said she’d be keeping her mask after Monday

“Cases are going up quite rapidly all over the country, and particularly in Barnsley. It is a concern to see that they’re going up at the rate they are.

“I think it underlines the fact that we’re not out of the woods yet and we still have a long way to go to get this virus under control.

“We’re welcoming the legal end of restrictions on Monday for some normality, but this virus is causing a lot of destruction, worry and anxiety so people still have a responsibility to keep the virus under control.

“We’ve got higher levels of deprivation in this part of the borough and that’s been the case throughout the pandemic. This is a virus that hits people disproportionately. Less of these people can work from home, a lot of them are going into warehouses and factories.

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Cllr Higginbottom urged people to get tested twice a week in Wombwell, to self-isolate and make sure to get their vaccines. He also said people continuing to wear masks inside was important.

“We’re a former mining area. We’ve got a lot of people who worked down the pit and have historic lung disease and things like that. That’s been the case throughout the pandemic,” he added.

“This is a disease that does discriminate based on deprivation. There are structural factors which mean we see higher case rates, and I think that’s what we’re seeing now.”

To get the latest email updates from South Yorkshire Live, click here.

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today17/07/2021