27 January 2021 – Message from Solihull’s Director of Public Health, Ruth Tennant

Released:

This week our COVID infection figures are beginning to show a small decline, hovering around 495 infections per 100,000 with new cases falling to 1,023 each week in Solihull, and 10 of the borough’s wards seeing a decrease, with only seven increasing.

The decrease is much slower than we experienced in March’s lockdown last year, but it is welcome news and shows that all the effort that people have put in during this lockdown is beginning to pay off.  Sadly, hospital in-patient numbers are still increasing and continue to put enormous pressure on our local NHS, so it is crucial to stick with the restrictions until our numbers fall to much lower levels.

Looking at the data, the most common place for people to get COVID is in their own home: people may catch it at work or out and about and then bring it home where it can easily transmit to the people they live with.  So take any steps you can to stay safe at home if someone you live with is infected: - keep your house well ventilated, don’t share towels, mugs, plates, or other household items and try to stay in a different room if possible. Even if you can’t do all of these, do as many as you can.

We are trying to break the work to home transmission path through targeted COVID testing.  We are offering test to all critical (key) workers who are unable to work from home and who don’t already get regular test (every 3-5 days) from their employer.  All businesses that remain open are being contacted to ensure managers and employees know this offer is available and to encourage businesses to get their staff tested regularly. 

Regular, rapid testing will identify those who may have COVID but don’t show any symptoms and so might unknowingly be infecting others.  Anyone who is over 16 and whose job means they need to be out and about and working with the public can book their rapid COVID test here.  These tests should be booked in advance. Testing centres are located at Newington Resource Centre and Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, with a further site opening at North Solihull Sports Centre tomorrow. 

In other news, the vaccination programme is surging ahead and so far over 6.5 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine across the UK with nearly 500,000 receiving a jab each day.  In Solihull most people aged 80 years or over, those living in care homes or who work in health and social care, have been vaccinated with their first dose and invitation letters will be going out to other priority groups for vaccination in due course.

Please do wait for the NHS to contact you to get your jab and when you are offered one - please attend your booked appointment. We are hearing so many positive stories from people who have been vaccinated and the relief they feel. We know there is huge demand from people wanting the vaccination so we advise everyone to get one as soon as it’s offered.

Vaccination has been a great team effort involving so many people from local volunteers, to road gritters and local NHS and care staff, and we’d like to thank everyone involved.