Coronavirus Doncaster: Update
Hi, my name is Dr Rupert Suckling and I am the Director of Public Health in Doncaster.
Here is my final planned update for 2020. Of course if there are any significant new developments over the festive period, then I will share these with you as soon as possible.
First of all, I want to thank you all for everything you have done since the start of this pandemic to support all of our efforts to tackle Coronavirus and for the sacrifices you and your families have made.
I appreciate it has not been easy and continues to be difficult but it is as critical as ever – even more so – to follow the guidance as we head into the Christmas and New Year period.
We know this is not the Christmas so many of us had planned and in Public Health terms, reducing the opportunities for the virus to spread is still critical.
You will know that there is a new variant of the virus which has been largely focused on the South East of England and Wales. We should not be complacent in thinking that it cannot reach Doncaster – it is a more infectious variant and therefore has the ability to spread quicker in human to human contact. That it is why it is important we continue to follow the basics well – wash your hands thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face.
Staying local and avoiding travel is also going to be more important than ever if we want to avoid another spike of cases in Doncaster. I would ask you to think about if you really need to make any journeys out of Doncaster in the coming days and would ask you to also discourage anybody from outside of the borough wanting to come and visit you.
If you or anybody you live with has recently returned from a Tier 4 area (including Wales) I would also strongly recommend that you avoid contact with anybody from other households, bearing in mind many instances of this new strain seem to be present in people with no symptoms at all.
Our infection rate for the last couple of weeks is yo-yoing and has been between the 200 – 220 infections per 100,000. The rates today for 10th to 16th December are 209.7 per 100,000 and our positivity rate – the number of people who have a test and test positive – is 9.5%.
We do need to get this down and help ease the pressure on the NHS. It’s worth remembering that our infection rate reached a peak of 580 infections per 100,000 people in the autumn and we have worked hard together to get this down and I’m sure we can do it again.
Doncaster’s testing centres will be open over Christmas so you can get a test – they are available – and do remember to self-isolate first if you have symptoms. We are currently working through the guidance for testing in schools and will be supporting schools with this information in the New Year. As you can imagine there is a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks.
It was pleasing to see the first vaccinations in Doncaster care homes which is good news as the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out nationally with more than half a million people – this is definitely a cause for hope and optimism.
I would also like to remind you to check reliable sources of information about the virus including Public Health England and MyDoncaster over this festive period as there is a range of information, advice and helplines available.
Finally please do stay safe and I hope you enjoy a healthy Christmas and New Year, let’s look forward to 2021.
Dr Rupert Suckling
Director of Public Health
Watch my latest video update here
Christmas Bin Collections
As always, we’re sure there’ll be a lot of packaging, cardboard and waste you want to get rid of over the Christmas period, so here are some important reminders for the next week or so…
Make sure you know when your bin day is over Christmas – it is likely to have changed temporarily over the festive period.
Our Household Waste Recycling Centres are open every day from now until 4 January 2021 except 25th, 26th December and 1st January.
Please adhere to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines and visit the website for more information
What to do with Christmas waste
Do the ‘scrunch test’ with wrapping paper to see if it can be recycling. If the paper stays scrunched up, it can be recycled. If it unfurls and goes flat (or flattish!) again, it can’t be recycled and should go in your black bin.
Please don’t recycle Christmas cards if they have glitter, bows or other fancy stuff on them like that – it can’t be recycled.
If you want to get rid of a Christmas Tree, you can either take it to an HWRC and put it in the green waste skip, compost it at home, or chop it up and put it in your green bin ready for collection in March 2021.
PLEASE recycle your waste and DON’T fly-tip!
We’ve set out loads of different ways you can recycle your waste safely and easily, so please don’t think about fly-tipping anything you want to get rid of over Christmas. We’ll still be investigating any reports of fly-tipping we get over the festive period – remember the maximum fine for offences could be up to £50,000 and up to five years in prison.
If you’re out on a Christmas walk over the next few weeks and do spot any fly-tipping, please report them online to us here:
Got Symptoms? Get Tested
Test sites will be open EVERY DAY over Christmas and New Year.
If you develop symptoms at any point over the festive period, make sure you self-isolate and book a test straight away.
You can do it online here:
New Year’s Eve Celebrations
This year has been different from any other, and celebrating the end of it and entering 2021 will be different as well.
It’s important we all see in the New Year safely, which unfortunately means we won’t be able to have the parties or gather with friends and family like we usually do.
Please stick to the Covid safety guidance in place, and don’t mix with households outside your bubble this New Year’s Eve.
Food Banks this Christmas
If your Christmas plans have changed and you suddenly have more food than you think you’ll be able to eat, why not consider donating some of it to a local food bank rather than letting it go to waste.
There are people who really need your donations.
Click the link to find out the opening times of local food banks, and you can contact them directly to find out the best way to donate.
Silence is NOT golden
Not everyone’s Christmas bubble will feel merry and bright this year.
Domestic abuse can happen to ANYONE and doesn’t stop for Christmas – if you’re worried for yourself or someone else please get in touch.
We will listen.
We can help.
Are you coping with Covid?
From childcare stresses, running businesses, isolation and having a difficult home life 2020 has been such a challenging year for all of us, and the stress and uncertainty of living through the pandemic has affected lots of people’s mental health.
Even people who have never suffered with mental health problems before might have found themselves feeling down, and it’s no surprise!
Find out more about support available:
Help us share information that matters to YOU!
We want to be able to provide you with important, relevant information for wherever you live in the borough so you’re as up to date as possible.
To help us do this, we’re asking you to answer a couple of questions by clicking on the link below. This will allow us to send updates on where you live straight to your inbox 👍
You can download the NHS COVID-19 app here:
Sharing is caring
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