19 February 2021 – Message from Solihull’s Director of Public Health, Ruth Tennant


COVID infection figures in Solihull continue to fall, your efforts during the lockdown have contributed to a 24% reduction.  However, that means the borough’s infection rate is still high at 184 per 100,000 infections, although much lower than in recent times.

This is good news, but it still means that each week, over 400 people in Solihull are catching COVID – roughly the same as in early December and also means that we still have a large number of very ill people in hospital. So, good signs of progress but more to do.

We have lots of tools to help us in the on-going fight against COVID. Vaccination roll-out is a big success story. So far, we estimate that 9 out of 10 people in the borough who have been offered vaccination have had it. This is a huge achievement thanks to the work of our local doctors, nurses, health care assistants and volunteers as well as everyone who has rolled up their sleeve for a jab.

Across the country, over 16 million doses of vaccination have been given. The MHRA which monitors vaccine safety has shown that only 3 in 1,000 people in the UK report having a reaction to vaccination. The vast majority of reported side effects are minor including sore arms and mild ‘flu-like’ symptoms. These symptoms show that your immune system is responding to the vaccine as it should do.

If you want to find more information and trusted, accurate sources of help to answer your vaccine queries please go to our local vaccine site here.

If you have been vaccinated, please do tell friends, family and colleagues about it as your experiences may help someone make up their mind.

Even with vaccination, to get to a position where it’s possible to release some of the lockdown measures safely and to keep rates down as this happens, we need to do everything we can to stamp out the virus.

Rapid, regular testing is really important for everyone. This is now very widely available for NHS staff, care workers, school staff and some pupils and we also offer testing to anyone who can’t work from home. This will be opened up to anyone in the borough shortly.

Every day, our testing centres are finding people who didn’t know they had COVID. It takes a maximum of 20 minutes, with easy parking so please use this free service to help protect our community. You can get a test at either Tudor Grange Leisure Centre and North Solihull Leisure Centre seven days week here

Please do mention this offer to your colleagues and anyone else who might be interested. Testing every 3-5 days is the best way to find those people who might not know they have it and then we can stop the virus being passed on unknowingly. By testing you are playing your part to bring rates down - so do spread the word. 

If you have to self-isolate there is support available on our Here2Help pages. The majority of people who have applied for the self-isolating payment scheme have received financial help so please do use this route if you need it.

For those business owners and managers who are working to keep on top of the changing guidance and want to ensure they keep their businesses and staff as safe as possible, I’ve recorded a useful webinar.  I go through the different types of COVID testing, the DOs and DON’Ts of self-isolation and other problem areas like coffee breaks, car sharing and risk assessments.

It’s free and runs for about 15 minutes, you’ll just need to register with your email address here. We know that businesses are putting a huge amount of effort into staying COVID secure and we would like to hear from anyone who feels they could share their approach with other local businesses. Workplaces are a key location where COVID can and does spread so it’s critical that we learn from the best.

You’ll also see that there are lots of other resources for businesses including support for staff who are struggling with anxiety or their mental health.

The vaccination roll-out, people getting tested, with or without symptoms and everyone continuing to follow the lockdown rules are how we are going to move out of this lockdown. 

So, please keep doing the right things for you, your household, your family and friends and for Solihull.  Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.