Testing centres close despite Sheffield seeing the largest rise in Covid cases across Yorkshire

Fears have been raised across Sheffield after  PCR testing centres have started to close the same week the city saw a 73.8% increase in Covid cases. 

Sheffield City Centre

Between 12 and 18 March 2022, 3,720 people had a confirmed positive test result compared to the previous week where 2,140 people had a confirmed case. This makes Sheffield the worst constituent in the Yorkshire and The Humber Region as 1 in 17 people have a confirmed case. 

Medical Researcher, Daniel Jones, 26 said: “It is bad that the test centres are closing and also that we now have to pay for testing kits, no one is going to buy the tests unless it is necessary for their job.

“Luckily I ordered a bunch of them before the end date.”

COVID Home Testing Kit

The last date people can get a PCR test in the region is 30th March 2022 but sites have already started to close. The site on Alderson Road in Sharrow closed on 19 March and the site on Shipton Street in Upperthorpe is set to close on 22 March. 

Despite national Covid restrictions easing, Public Health Sheffield has recognised life is not back to normal just yet and has advised people to do all they can to help stop the spread of the infection. 

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield: “This (Covid) isn’t over yet by a long stretch.

“The next variant might not be as benign as Omicron has turned out to be, so let’s not all fall into a sense of security that this is over.”

Gregg Fell

While some may have stopped wearing masks and social distance, people are still testing every day. The steel city saw a 15.3% increase in testing after 35,598 tests were taken between 11-17 March 2022 when compared to the previous week. 

Masks are still worn by some

An O2 Academy staff member, Holly Horrowsmith said: “It doesn’t make sense, I don’t understand why they are closing all of the test centres, maybe just a few but not all of them. Not when cases are rising again.

“They should keep the centres open, they’re not doing any harm, they are just making sure people who have it get a positive test result.”

There is also still free LFD testing for the general public until 1 April 2022. You order packs of seven online or collect for free from:

  • A local pharmacy: find a pharmacy
  • Online to be sent to your home: order for home delivery
  • The Community Covid Bus: see #CommunityCovidBus on social media
  • Community Covid Hub stall: Moor Market, stand 81

Community COVID bus- Sheffield City Council

Across the city, hospital admissions have also been on the rise. There was a 25.9% increase in people going to the hospital with Covid between 7-13 March after 102 people were admitted.

The number of Covid patients being treated by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is still below the level recorded earlier this year, when it peaked at 293 on 17 January. 

Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Patients admitted to the hospital will be given free tests if they have symptoms and so will care home residents and other vulnerable groups. 

Free testing for those in child care will stop and so will testing for staff and students in education.

Student, Liberty Smith, 19 said: “I don’t think it makes any sense at all, especially because we are such a high student populated area. In our lectures. If one person gets it, everyone gets it and our lectures are packed. 

“I don’t understand why the tests are not free anymore, it limits students who don’t have the financial income to buy these tests.”

Out of Sheffield’s 71 neighbourhoods where data is recorded, all but five have seen a rise in case rates. The UK as a whole saw a 56% rise in Covid-19 cases during the week ending 10th March compared to the week before. 410,173 people were tested positive.

Despite the increases in testing, positive cases and hospital admissions according to Sheffield Public Health Covid infection is now forty times less likely to result in death than it was in January 2021. 

Vaccines have been shown to have a significant impact on the number of deaths caused by Covid-19. At the time of writing, 77.5% of Sheffield residents have received their first dose:

  • 428,288 people have been given their first dose
  • 401,589 people have been given their second dose
  • 308,701 people have been given their third dose

Only 55.9% of the 552, 698 residents have received their third dose. 

COVID-19 vaccines

According to government sources, anyone who needs a test from 1st April to confirm their symptoms are COVID, will have to pay £2 and £5 per individual LFT or around £20 per pack of seven. 

At the time of writing for those who would want to purchase an At-Home Covid-19 PCR Testing Kit, it could cost around £62 based on the current Boots.com prices.

 

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