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

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

In the last seven days (latest data provided on 22 March 2022) the number of people who have tested positive in Solihull is 1,595 which shows there has been an increase of 379 cases (+31.2%) from the last week. Testing rates are falling so there will be many more people with COVID that aren’t being officially recorded locally: the most recent national survey showing around 1 in 20 people in the UK had COVID.

As you will know COVID testing will end for the general public in England from the 1 April. We will be maintaining some local testing kits while stocks last and will share more information about this next week although our local testing centres will be closing.

Testing will continue to be a useful tool to check if you have COVID and I’d advise that if you feel unwell, have any of the main COVID symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID to take a test. You can find where to buy tests here  or use any kits you may still have at home.

This is important if you’re meeting people who might be more vulnerable to COVID and we would particularly encourage anyone visiting a friend or relative in a care home to continue to test.

If you test positive for the virus, then stay at home where you can and avoid other people including those you live with to help stop the spread. If you are worried about work, then ask your boss if you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). See current guidance related to SSP due to COVID-19 for employees. We are also advising all business to encourage employees to continue to test and to stay off work if they have COVID to avoid spreading it.

Vaccination remains the best weapon against COVID. The vaccine offers the best protection against becoming seriously unwell, staying out of hospital and passing the virus on to others.

The spring COVID-19 booster is now being rolled out locally to care home residents, people aged 75 and over and those with a weakened immune system aged over 12. The NHS will contact you and invite you to book your spring booster when it’s due. This will usually be around 6 months after your last dose.

If you or a family member are yet to come forward for first, second or initial booster doses, then now is the time to get jabbed. There are plenty of options to get your vaccinations at a time and place that is convenient for you including at walk-in clinic or at a booked appointment.

If you have recently recovered from COVID then you should still come forward for your vaccination, as having had the virus does not give the same levels of protection. Anyone over 18 who has had COVID will need to wait four weeks before having any dose of the vaccine, or 12 weeks for those aged 12 to 17.

We know that COVID has affected people’s physical and mental health that go beyond the virus itself. As the weather improves, we are offering a range of free activities in Solihull.

Ruth Tenant

Solihull’s Director of Public Health

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