Despite the inevitable speculation and media debate over new government guidance and much anticipated announcements, I really have just one message for you – it’s very simple and it’s not new.
Get your jab, then get your second jab and then encourage everyone you know to do the same. Last night’s Downing St press conference heard the chief medical officer explain that, despite rising rates of infection, vaccinations are keeping people out of hospital and preventing deaths.
While COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly, the fact that so many people have been vaccinated means that so far hospital admissions and deaths are thankfully not matching that trend as they have previously.
But I have to be clear, although the vaccine has weakened the link between cases and hospitalisations, it has not broken it and hospital cases will rise as rates rise although at a slower rate.
As of today, Solihull’s rates are the highest of any upper tier authority in the West Midlands region with 9.2% of people who get tested testing positive. In the last week we had 736 new cases. Our local rate is now at 420 per 100k and, in line with national projections, we are expecting this to rise.
We have had seen increases right across the borough but we are particularly worried about high rates in Dorridge and Hockley Heath, Olton and Blyth wards where rates are now over 450 per 100k.
We are also particularly concerned by very high rates in younger age groups: our rate in 17-18 year olds is now 1444 per 100,000k – or 1.4 case for every 100 people in this age group. In the 19-24 age group it stands at 1186 – or just over 1 case for every 100 people. These are all people who will not be able to work, socialise or study while they are infectious.
We are also seeing high rates in secondary schools with COVID rates at 875 per 100k and have therefore advised our schools heads to reintroduce face coverings until the end of term.
Vaccinations are now available to everyone over 18 – find out all you need to know at https://www.birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/.
Here in Solihull there is a walk-in vaccination session with the mobile testing unit this Friday 9 July at ASDA in Chelmsley Wood (341 Bosworth Drive, B37 5EX) between 11am and 5pm.
More than 200 people took up the opportunity last Friday so please join them –15,000 18-29-year-olds in Solihull have not yet had the jab – are you one of them?
if you are over 18 and have not yet been vaccinated or only had a first dose (at least 8 weeks ago) you can just turn up to get your Pfizer vaccine.
No appointment is needed.
And, we can’t forget the football – keep your eye on the ball and be a safe supporter for tomorrow’s big match. We all need to think hard about the risks we may be taking when we’re out and about.
As we move into the next phase, it is absolutely vital that people think about their own risks and the risks for their families and communities. The council will continue to support our communities, businesses and schools to safely manage these risks.
Keep an eye out for the council’s public engagement officers, who will be on their rounds this week in Kingshurst, Marston Green, Chelmsley Wood and Castle Bromwich letting people know how to get tests and telling you where you can get vaccinated.
Remember - if you do test positive and then a PCR test confirms it, we can offer financial support when you self-isolate. We have increased the threshold on the scheme so that you can access funds if you earn up to £26,000. We can also provide other help and support; you can find out more here.
Director of Public Health, Solihull Council
Below are useful links to find out where you can get a vaccine, how to book, and how to get a test.
- Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service – Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service (birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk)
- What you need to know – Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service (birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk)
- The NHS is also contacting people to bring forward second vaccination appointments, or rebook yourself on the National Booking Service.
- Access tests at our community test sites in Chelmlsey Wood, next to the bus interchange, or Solihull High Street next to Halifax Bank.
- There are options to suit everyone – walk in and ask for an assisted test, collect a kit to test at home, order online for free home delivery or pick up a pack from participating local pharmacies.
- If you should get a positive rapid test result it’s vital to get a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours. Check the Covid-19 mobile testing unit timetable or book via the national PCR test booking system.
- To remind people as ever - if you do get COVID, (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed), you must self-isolate and get a PCR test immediately as you can spread the virus if you do not self-isolate.