Weekly update from Rotherham’s Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche

Rotherham's Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche
Rotherham's Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche.

This week I make no apology for revisiting what is the most important aspect of our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Crucial time for the people of Rotherham

For us to successfully and safely resume ‘normal’ life we must continue to follow the government guidelines. The only reason we have been able to start a phased and managed easing of restrictions is because we have reduced the Reproduction (R) rate to below one.

As a community we have all made huge sacrifices over the last twelve weeks to ensure that we reduce the R rate of this dreadful disease. By dropping our guard at this critical time, we risk undoing all the gains that we have collectively achieved. It is vital that we follow the rules and be sensible with the easing of restrictions.

While there is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, there are things you can continue to do to stop the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands, regularly and thoroughly throughout the day
  • Stay two metres apart from anyone who does not live in your household, unless you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children and are forming a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.
  • If you can, wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where a two-metre distance isn’t possible. From 15 June, you must wear a face covering on public transport and when attending hospital as a visitor or outpatient.
  • You must self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms and arrange for a test.

We as a Local Authority are doing everything we can to keep the people of Rotherham safe and urge you to follow the guidelines.

However, we acknowledge that a balance has to be struck between easing restrictions which enable more pupils to return to school, more businesses to open and more social interactions to happen, against the risk of causing a resurgence of infections. Our advice echoes the government’s scientifically backed reasoning.

As mentioned in my briefing last week, the new NHS Test and Trace service is now up and running. If you subsequently get a telephone call or email it is important that you follow the guidance given, and if advised, self-isolate for 14 days. Please remember that how you respond will have a direct impact on our collective ability to halt the spread of coronavirus; please think about how that may impact you and your family.

Updated guidance on what you can and can’t do can be found on the following web page

Shielding of the vulnerable

At the start of this pandemic, a significant proportion of the community were considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus and were advised to shield themselves until the 30 June.

These were the people who were likely to be most at risk of severe illness if they contracted the virus and who were advised that additional actions should be considered to prevent themselves from coming into contact with the virus.

The Government now considers that we have passed the peak of the disease, therefore those people deemed vulnerable can now take initial steps to safely spend time outdoors with members of their own household or, if they live alone, with one person from another household. Ideally, this should be the same person each time.

As with everyone else, maintaining two metres between people outside your household remains critical.

This guidance will be kept under regular review and currently reflects the lower risk of transmission when outdoors, as well as the significantly reduced prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.

Further guidance can be found on the following web page 


Thank you for continuing to follow the government’s guidelines, be kind to one another and stay safe.

For up to date and accurate information I recommend you use the following two sites to keep yourselves informed:

Published: 12th June 2020