Hi, my name is Dr Rupert Suckling and I am the Director of Public Health in Doncaster.
This week we have reached some significant milestones in our journey to starting to learn how to live with Covid.
Some great news is that Doncaster now has rates of infection under 100 per 100,000 as of 27th February to 5th March (98.8/100,000).
This is the first time we have had rates this low since September last year so is great news, and really is testament to the sacrifices you all continue to make. Other positive news is that our rate in the over 60s has halved to below 50/100,000 and this is largely due to the impact of the vaccination programme.
Although these figures are something to be proud and excited about, we are far from out of the woods and really need to continue with everything we are doing to get the rates down even further. So please do stay at home where possible and get your vaccination when you are invited to do so.
The vaccine has now been administered to over 100,000 people in Doncaster as of yesterday so the programme is doing well here with almost a third of the population receiving their first COVID jab. Director of Strategy & Delivery at Doncaster CCG, Anthony Fitzgerald has provided a video update on how things are going with the local vaccination programme, which you can see here.
Another significant milestone we crossed this week was the wider opening of schools. 96 per cent of primary school pupils returned and 73 per cent of secondary school pupils have so far returned through a staggered start, with more going back today. The feedback from our secondary schools has been how impressive the roll out of the testing programme for pupils has been. Both parents and pupils have been very supportive of this programme and for that I would like to thank you.
We are continuing to encourage anybody who needs to leave the house regularly for work or caring purposes to get tested twice a week – whether you have symptoms or not and there are a number of sites open to do this so please check on our website and social media @CovidDoncaster. If you do test positive, you must self-isolate immediately to help stop the spread of infection.
I know this Sunday will be difficult for so many people who may have not seen their mother in a long time. It was Mother’s Day last year when the request to stop mixing households really came to a head, so to be in a position where Mother’s Day this year still needs to be spent apart I know is hard. I would ask you all to follow the rules, however, as we really don’t want to slip back after making so much progress these last few weeks.
We are also heading towards the one year anniversary of the first case of Coronavirus being detected in the borough next week – it has been a challenging time for everyone and as we head towards the key milestone dates in the roadmap out, I would ask you to continue to do it for Doncaster and keep yourselves and others safe.
Dr Rupert Suckling
Director of Public Health
Businesses encouraged to get their employees tested
The government is encouraging any sized businesses to sign up to an employer-led rapid testing scheme available until 30 June, through which they can receive free tests for staff members without symptoms who cannot work from home. You can register to order tests if your business is registered in England your employees cannot work from home.
Businesses need register an interest in the scheme by 31st March by visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
The registration process will ask for the following:
- The name of your company
- Your company registration number
- An email address
If businesses are unable to set up their own testing they can access the Community Testing Sites at Hexthorpe, Stainforth and Conisbrough.
And remember, anyone can visit these sites to get tested regularly.
Find out more:
Calling all Unpaid Carers!
We have three pieces of important information to share with you:
- You will be contacted by your GP and invited to have your Covid-19 vaccination if you are identified as an unpaid carer. If you are a registered unpaid carer and have not yet been invited, don’t not worry as you will be contacted. If you are not already registered as an unpaid carer you should contact your GP surgery and inform them that you wish to register as an unpaid carer.
- Free PPE is available to unpaid carers who need it, so they can continue to keep themselves and those they care for safe. Contact requests and collecting PPE will be available Monday & Thursday between 10am – 3.30pm. Call 07713 089 678 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Following Mayor Ros’ Six Point Spring Sprint, we want to highlight the range of Financial Support Unpaid Carers may be entitled to including: assistance with council tax, help with rental costs or daily living expenses.
More information on Vaccinations, PPE and Financial Support is available via the Family Carers Support Page:
Upcoming elections – Are you registered to vote?
Although Covid restrictions remain in place, the government has decided that all elections should go ahead this year. On Thursday 6 May, residents will have the opportunity to elect a Mayor of Doncaster, local ward councillors and a Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire. Some wards will also vote for town and parish councillors.
If you are not yet registered to vote you can do so here (before 19 April) and it will only take a few minutes.
The council is putting in extra precautions to help keep everyone safe during this election. If you would prefer to use a postal vote, rather than a polling station, then please call 0800 180 4604 or email email@example.com by 5pm on 20 April. You can also apply at the Electoral Commission
You can also vote by proxy – where you can ask somebody else to vote on your behalf. To request an application form please call 0800 180 4604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org You must return your completed proxy application form by 5pm on 27 April 2021.
For more information on the elections in Doncaster:
Doncaster to roll out pop up vaccination centres
In a bid to get even more people in Doncaster vaccinated we are set to run a number of pop-up Covid-19 vaccination centres across the town in the next few months.
Starting at Belle Vue Mosque on March 19 from 9am until 5pm, the pop-up centres will welcome walk ups from the over 55s, anyone who is classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and carers.
The aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible in the current groups and we feel that taking the vaccine out into the community will be a really good way to reach people.
The next pop-up centre will be at the Gurdwara at Hyde Park on March 21 from 10am until 4pm. Further locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
Please be aware that religious customs must be observed when attending a place of worship.
We have had a good uptake of the vaccine in the centres we have set up and we hope that these additional pop-up sites will enable us to reach members of the community, in the current groups, who have not yet accessed the vaccination.
If you are over 55, classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or a carer and have not yet got an appointment for the vaccination please do consider attending one of the pop-up centres and help us to reduce the infection numbers in Doncaster and take the steps to ease the lockdown restrictions.
Covid-19 Vaccination Invites are being sent to 56-59yr olds
Booking letters for Covid-19 vaccinations have started to go out this week for people aged between 56-59 years old. When the NHS contacts you or a loved one to get vaccinated, you may be offered a few places to go including local vaccination sites or regional mass vaccination sites and pharmacies which are located in neighbouring towns and cities. This is simply a way for you to access a vaccination quicker and don't worry if you can't get there should it not be suitable. You will be offered other ways to get a jab soon.
Over 60 Covid-19 Vaccinations
If you are over 60 and have not yet received a first dose vaccination, please come forward now and make an appointment. We are determined that nobody should be left behind and invite people aged over 60 to book a vaccination through the national online booking service www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or you can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
Second dose Covid-19 Vaccinations
For many of those who were vaccinated at the start of the programme, the time will come over the next few weeks to return for a second dose. The process of providing second doses is progressing according to when people received the first dose, which means the top priority groups that received their first dose of the vaccine at the start of the programme will be the first to receive their second dose. Over the coming weeks this will therefore be mainly people aged 80 and over, and care home residents and staff and NHS frontline workers. People who received their first dose in a hospital hub or through a GP service will be contacted to receive their second dose, if they haven’t already. You do not need to contact the NHS or call or visit your GP surgery.
For more information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme and read the latest FAQs please visit:
Vaccinations: Ask us anything!
With the vaccination programme rolling out at a rapid pace across Doncaster, we’re offering you the chance to put your vaccine questions to the experts.
You can submit your questions about the vaccine by emailing email@example.com or via our social media inbox.
Our expert panel will then answer on video. We’ll share their responses on our Facebook page on Thursday 18 March at 8pm and in next week’s newsletter, too.
How is Covid impacting your life?
We are still running our Doncaster Talks survey to find out how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting YOU.
Please take a few minutes to let us know how you think your experience should shape what we do in the future .You may have given us your views already but we still want to hear from you again if your situation or views have changed since you last completed our survey.
Help further shape what we do going forward:
Sharing is caring
Don’t forget to share the messages in this newsletter with people who may not be online, whilst following government guidance on physical distancing.
They may also be interested in signing up to receive these emails (and other updates from us):
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: