17 March - Message from Solihull’s Director of Public Health, Ruth Tennant


In the last seven days (latest data provided on 14 March 2022) the number of people who have tested positive in Solihull is 1,116 which shows there has been an increase of 435 cases (+63.9%) from the last week.

We know that as fewer people are testing now, the official rates are less reliable than they were. However, the Office for National Statistic survey (which tests a random sample of people each week) gives us a better picture.

This shows that last week around 1 in 25 people had COVID in England. This is likely to be a result of the relaxation of national guidance leading to more transmission and also some potential waning of immunity from the virus.

It is clear that the virus is still with us and circulating widely.  Worryingly we have seen a recent increase in the number of people hospitalised with COVID locally. Although severe illness and death rates from COVID are around 40 times lower during this Omicron wave than compared to earlier waves of the pandemic.

We’re still living with COVID and although legal restrictions have been lifted, we can still choose to take measures that don’t restrict our lives but can slow the spread and protect people who may be more vulnerable to the virus.

So, this is a careful balance between going back to a more normal life and continuing to do things which help stop the spread. COVID is not just a cold. This is particularly important whilst the virus is at fairly high levels. Here’s what you can do:

  • Get vaccinated and get your booster dose.
  • Opt to wear a face covering in crowded indoor places and public transport
  • Ventilation: if you meet indoors, let in plenty of fresh air or think about meeting people in outside spaces.
  • Get tested if you have COVID symptoms & register your test result.
  • It’s still the right thing to do to keep yourself away from others if you test positive or think you have COVID.

The rigorous studies so far conducted and new ones being developed, have shown and continue to show, that vaccination provides extra protection against severe disease and gives us an extra boost to our immunity even if we’ve had COVID before.

The Joint Committee and Vaccination and Immunisation has now recommended a fourth Spring booster dose as an important additional protection for older people or people who have weakened immune systems which makes them at higher risk.

The good news is that we have seen an increase in people coming forward for vaccination in some areas. If you or a family member hasn’t had theirs, now is the time to get one. Find out more here: https://www.birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/

To look at national data regularly and to explore further local insights on COVID-19 please visit the official UK government website.

Ruth Tennant 

Solihull's Director of Public Health