As we welcome the reopening of non-essential businesses today and being able to meet up with a limited number of friends and family again, it is great to see what a big impact the combination of lockdown measures and vaccination have had locally.
Our rate today is 31 per 100,000, 29 March-4 April, 69 cases, down from 180 cases two weeks ago. It’s also good news that only five people over the age of 60 have tested positive
This has only happened because of all the steps people have taken to stay COVID safe and because of the large numbers of people who have been vaccinated locally and nationally.
This means the number of people requiring hospital care for COVID has fallen a lot and, because rates are lower, people’s chance of coming into contact with someone with COVID is much lower than it has been at any point since September 2020.
From today, as part of the second step of the roadmap out of the lockdown, non-essential retail is able to reopen alongside hairdressers and nail salons and other personal care premises. Similarly our libraries, leisure centres and community centres are open again and outdoor hospitality venues can offer table service. The full list of changes from today can be found on our website or at GOV.UK.
Today’s changes are good news and we all welcome the increased feeling of normality that they give us. But while we enjoy being able to do more, we need to proceed carefully. We need to get to a point where we have a very high number of people vaccinated and very low number of COVID cases so that there is very little risk of anyone coming into contact with the virus.
We are on the right road but with many people unvaccinated, there is still a risk of another big increase in cases which could slow down our path to further reopening. And although many of the most vulnerable have been vaccinated, the vaccination does not provide 100% protection for everyone.
The message needs to be to stay careful, stick with hands, face and space and good indoor ventilation. Although you can meet with up to five other people or with another household, try not to mix with lots of different groups as this gives the virus the opportunity to spread. Remember that you cannot visit other people’s houses, you can only meet up with people outside in their gardens, not inside their homes.
Regular, twice a week Lateral Flow Tests can help identify people with no symptoms and are now easily available at community collect sites where you can pick up a test to do at home or you can opt for an assisted test at a local test centre.
Everyone over the age of 18 is now being advised to do this twice a week and secondary aged pupils are also being given kits to do at home. Make this part of your routine and if you test positive, confirm this with a second test and stick with self-isolation.
If you do get COVID, (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed), self-isolate and get a test. You can spread the virus if you do not self-isolate for 10 days. Financial and practical support is available to help anyone who needs this so you can keep yourself, your family and your community safe.
Contact the Council on 0121 704 8000 for further information, including how to get tested if you have symptoms or are asymptomatic, or look at the information on our COVID web pages here.
Lastly please go for your vaccine when you are called for your first or second dose. 114,680 people in Solihull have had their first dose of vaccine and 25,886 their second. Further information about the vaccination is available here
Director of Public Health