As we come to the end of a second week of living with the easing of Covid restrictions, we are still seeing infection rates in Solihull at the highest in the West Midlands, and the 17th highest nationally. This is clearly not where we want to be.
If you still haven't had your vaccine there are plenty of walk-in centres across Solihull and Birmingham, where no appointment is necessary. Take a look at the website.
The message remains:- wear a face covering in shops and other crowded places, keep washing your hands, try to maintain a safe distance from people, get double vaccinated and have regular tests. Continuing to do all these things will help reduce the transmission of this invisible virus. I have been hearing more about the effects of what is called long-covid; it can be really bad news, and if we think it is just like the aftermath of having the flu, think again.
We are seeing an increase in Covid patients in our local hospitals, which is causing pressure on our already stretched NHS. Our NHS has done an amazing job over the last 16 months in dealing with the pandemic, so we need to do what we can to help ease the constant pressure they are facing daily. If you need medical help, call 111 in the first instance. They will direct you to the most appropriate service to use and can even book you a timeslot at A&E.
We are encouraging local businesses to play their part and sign up to the Covid Business Pledge. The Pledge is a visible commitment to remaining vigilant in response to Covid and doing the simple things that keep customers and staff safe. It is about businesses continuing to take Covid seriously and putting in place precautions to carry on dealing with the virus as we move towards living with Covid in the coming months and years.
We all desperately want to get the economy going well again, and we are going to have to get used to living with Covid in the community, but as I said last week, if businesses put on unsafe events or fail to operate in a Covid-safe manner, our Director of Public Health has the legal powers to close them down, and she will have my full support to take action against any irresponsible businesses that threaten the health and wellbeing of Solihull residents.
The Council's online survey on boosting domestic abuse support is open for one more week until next Friday 6 August. We want to get information and ideas to keep improving this important service and views from survivors and professionals are vital. Thank you to everyone who has already taken part - if you have views please do get them in before the deadline.
With the Tokyo Olympics in full swing, I was delighted to hear that a Silhillian is representing Team GB in the hockey - what a fantastic achievement. Good luck to Brendan Creed and the rest of his teammates, along with all the other athletes as they compete for medals.
On Wednesday this week marked one year until the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. To celebrate the occasion, we were lucky to receive a visit from Perry the mascot! He was in Solihull and Chelmsley Wood town centres chatting to people - did you see him?
How exciting is it that we will be hosting a major sporting event in our home region next year. It will bring a number of opportunities for people and many are already available. For more information read the press release.
Stay safe and keep doing the right thing for Solihull.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council