After a period of seeing our COVID rates fall, over the last week we have seen a sudden rise in cases.
Our rate today is 83.2 per 100,000, up from 54.1 on 4 March - a rise from 117 to 180 cases. We expect this to go up further. Our rates are now the third highest in the West Midlands, above Birmingham, Warwickshire and Coventry.
This is a real concern and a clear reminder that we are not out of the woods yet. As we saw before Christmas when there was a huge surge in cases, once the new variant gets out, it spreads very quickly, causing new outbreaks and transmitting around families and workplaces.
This recent increase is concentrated in the Smith’s Wood and Kingshurst areas of the borough. But we could very quickly see this pattern change, as there are signs of increases in other areas as people seem to be out and about more.
Vaccination roll-out is happening at pace and 44% of people in Solihull have had their first dose. But this means that many people have not been vaccinated at all and most are not fully protected yet. We know that the average age of people in intensive care locally during the second wave was 57. This still leaves many people at risk of being very severely affected by COVID.
We need to take this as a very serious warning sign. We do not want a third wave.
At this point, people can only meet one other person outdoors. You should not meet in groups. Indoor mixing is not yet allowed and risks spreading the virus. You should continue to stay at home unless you need to go out for essential reasons, which includes education for children and young people.
We need to stick with this, get back to doing the right things to get our rates lower and allow vaccination to do its job.
Please remember that you can spread the virus with no symptoms. 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.
Director of Public Health