BARNSLEY’S coronavirus infection rate is at its highest ever level and it’s expected to rise even further, according to the town’s director of public health.

The latest rate is 2,125.2 per 100,000 residents - a figure more than five times higher than at the start of December.

In the first five days of January - the latest figures available - more than 2,500 people tested positive for the virus.

Almost half of those taking a PCR test - where the swab is taken to the lab for results - are currently receiving a positive result.

In the seven-day period ending December 31, 10,902 took a test - 45.7 per cent of those came back Covid-positive.

It was just 11 per cent at the start of December.

Julia Burrows, the town’s director of public health, said: “In line with most other areas nationally, we have seen Covid-19 case rates rocket in Barnsley and are now at over 1,500 cases per 100,000 people (using data for the 7 days ending 29 December 2021).

“We expect this to continue to rise.

“This is pushing rates up in some of our most vulnerable people, including those over 50 and 60 years old.

“All across the country rates in these older ages continue to climb with no obvious signs of slowing.

“As there have been no changes to national restrictions, we need to continue with the behaviours we know can help reduce transmission and keep ourselves and those around us safe: using face coverings, keeping a safe social distance, washing our hands frequently, and socialising in small numbers and in well ventilated spaces.

“It’s also important to get vaccinated to make sure that if you do catch Covid-19, you have the best form of protection against it becoming serious.

“Please get your booster jab and if you have not had any vaccination yet, it’s not too late, you can find out how to get yours at“