Friday 5 Febuary 2021
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are providing regular email updates to let you know about the latest information we have on local and national measures to contain the virus, any changes to local services and support that’s available.
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Further information is available from www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus
Cautious optimism after fall in local infection rate
The Covid infection rate in Rotherham has fallen this week and now stands at 230.6 cases per 100,000 (for the 7-days to 30thJanuary), down from 288.6 cases the previous week.
Although the fall in infections is not as steep as in other parts of the country, it is a sign that the lockdown measures, combined with the vaccination programme are starting to have an impact.
But tragically, in the last week alone, another 20 people died from Covid in Rotherham and 612 more people tested positive – a sobering reminder that the pandemic is continuing to have devastating consequences for local people and why it’s vital we continue to take all precautions to stop the virus spreading.
Whilst the number of old variant cases has been falling for some time and the estimated proportion of new variant cases is still increasing, this week has seen the first reduction in total new variant cases since the lockdown began.
The new variant is more transmissible, which it is more likely to be passed on to more people. The current estimate is that around 70% of positive cases in Rotherham are likely to be the new variant.
As the new variant inevitably becomes more common, it is even more important that everyone does what they can to keep safe. Make sure you:
- Stay at home where possible
- If you do go out, wash your hands when possible while you’re out and always when you get home
- Social distance from others and wear a mask in indoor or busy public places
- If you are displaying symptoms, self-isolate and arrange to get a test as soon as possible
Further detailed information about the Covid infection rate in each area is available from the Government covid data website.
Positive news from Rotherham Hospital
The number of inpatients being treated for Covid-19 in Rotherham Hospital has seen a sharp fall this week.
On Wednesday the number of covid inpatients being cared for at the hospital was 76, a significant reduction from the 102 Covid inpatients last week.
Eleven patients were in critical care.
Thank you to all the staff at Rotherham Hospital for their amazing work at what has been an extremely difficult time.
Since the start of the pandemic the hospital has treated 2,212 patients with covid and has now safely discharged more than 1,500 local people.
Sadly, the total death registrations mentioning Covid-19 in Rotherham now stands at 734.
Local elections set to go ahead in May
The Government has announced that it plans to press ahead with elections on Thursday 6 May 2021.
In Rotherham, this means Borough, Parish and South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner elections are set to take place, alongside a Neighbourhood Planning Referendum in the Dinnington St John’s area.
New Borough ward boundaries will be introduced at the next local elections, with the number of council seats reducing from 63 to 59 and the number of wards will be increased from 21 to 25.
Further information is available from the Rotherham Council Elections website.
Businesses urged to apply for Covid funding
New ‘Open Business’ grants have extended support to firms losing trade due to reduced footfall or visitor confidence, and other business types are also getting more help as restrictions continue.
Whilst many local businesses can technically remain open under the COVID regulations, it’s recognised that many are struggling. This could be because the businesses around them have closed or moved to homeworking, or because their customers don’t feel safe visiting.
The new Open Business grants will provide payments of between £1,400 and £3,150 to companies that:
- provide goods or services to the public in person
- have not themselves been forced to close
- have fixed premises costs
- can evidence a loss in trade related to the pandemic
This is the latest of a series of regional schemes being delivered thanks to funding secured from the Government by local authorities in South Yorkshire, including Rotherham Council, working in partnership with Sheffield City Region.
To date the Council has paid more than £61m of COVID support to around 5,000 Rotherham businesses from the local, regional and central government funding it administers.
The payments available through many of these schemes have also now increased significantly, to help businesses cope with the ongoing COVID restrictions.
Visit our website for information about the wide range of funding available to different businesses.
Financial support if you have to self-isolate
A local financial support scheme is available to people who lose earnings because they have to self-isolate.
The Rotherham Council payment operates alongside the Government’s scheme and provides support to many people facing hardship who fall outside the criteria for the national scheme.
it is hoped that the scheme will incentivise people worried about the financial consequences of not being able to work, to do the right thing.
Under the local scheme, a payment of £250 will be made to people who have:
- Been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
- Started a period of self-isolation on or after the 25th January 2021.
- Have not been able to access the Government’s self-isolation support payments or discretionary payments.
- Are employed or self-employed; and
- Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
Click here for further information and to make an application.
Rotherham Together through lockdown
Council publishes Covid budget plans
The Council published its budget proposals this week, which includes more money to support streetpride services and tackle some of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic such as unemployment and food poverty.
Like all local authorities, the Council has been at the forefront of the response to the Covid pandemic over the last 12 months, which has led to a significant impact on its income and increased costs for services like social care for children, older people and people with disabilities.
Added pressures have led to extra spending of around £30m on what was forecasted the pandemic budget forecasts.
However the Council is on course to balance its budget for the coming year, meaning that it can keep the proposed council tax rise down to 1.99% and a further 1% rise in the government’s Adult Social Care Levy. The total 2.99% increase proposed is considerably lower than the government’s 5% cap.
For further information about the 2021/22 budget proposals:
See our press release or
View the full budget report