Issued: Friday 11 September at 3pm
Updated: Saturday 12 September at 9:20am
Solihull Council has been working with national government to agree a package of measures to contain the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the borough.
Chief Executive of Solihull Council, Nick Page explains: “We are concerned by the rate of increase and the pattern of spread which affects the whole borough and a wide age group. This has seen the number of local cases rise from 84 across the whole of August to 135 in September so far. This means that as at 8th September our rate stands at 63 per 100k with 5% of people who are being tested testing positive.
“We are working with our key partners in the NHS and social care who know first-hand the impact of the virus. Our hospital experts tell us that the virus has not changed.
Nick continues: “We recognise that people live, work and travel in and out of Solihull and that we have very important connections across the wider region. So it is important that we continue to apply measures that will help bring down our rates with other parts of the region.
“As an area of national intervention we will work with government to be able to take the extra steps to control the virus with the right tools to do this.
“The new national restrictions announced today mean that, from Tuesday 15 September, people will not be able to meet in each other’s houses or gardens unless you are in your support bubble. This includes people who live in or outside Solihull. Further details of what this means are available on the government website here."
“These greater restrictions that are coming in will help us to control the virus so that we can keep our schools open and keep business running within the new rules. We will keep these under very close review as rates change.
“In response to the rapid increase in cases since 1st September we are accelerating our ‘top six’. These are the key things we need to do right across the borough, with the support and commitment of everyone who lives, works or socialises here.”
Ruth Tennant, Director of Public Health, sets out Solihull Council’s top six:
1. Understanding the routes of transmission so we are clear where and how the virus is spreading and can quickly spot links. We have talked to more than 50 local people this week who have given us valuable clues to help us stop the spread.
2. Increasing access to testing for the right people at the right time. We have worked with NHS Test and Trace to open a new testing centre this week– bookable online for people with COVID symptoms only - in the borough. University Hospitals Birmingham health professionals are providing a rapid testing response to manage outbreaks. It’s essential that that people self-isolate for 10 days if they have symptoms, whether or not they have had test. The test tells you if you’re positive but it’s self-isolation – of you and your close contacts – that stops the spread.
3. Rapid control of outbreaks. Local outbreaks are a reality of COVID. Working with Public Health England, we will continue to support businesses, workplaces, care homes and schools where there is an outbreak. We need all our partners to be on the alert for cases, to report these rapidly so they can follow the right advice to stop this quickly.
4. Driving compliance. We have been providing advice to pubs, bars, restaurants and other businesses and events in the borough. There will be more staff carrying out this important work and we are also calling on everyone – businesses and the public – to do the right thing when they are out and about. Where necessary, we will use legal powers (Section 3) to stop events or businesses that are a risk to public health.
5. Let’s do the right thing for Solihull: our staff and our Community Champions will be reinforcing key messages to the public about what they can do to stop the spread. Using social media, a visible street presence and ‘word of mouth’ we will make sure people know what they need to do to help us get the numbers down. The fewer people you meet and socialise with and the fewer places you go, the lower the risk. And remember Hands, Face, Space.
6. Protecting our most vulnerable: We have already taken the very difficult decision to suspend care home visiting in Solihull temporarily, while recognising that there are exceptional circumstances when there may be a need to enable safe visiting. More information about this is on our website here.
Leader of the Council, Ian Courts, explains how the Council is working with central government: “As an area of national intervention and in liaison with neighbouring authorities, we will be working closely with national government to improve the speed and flexibility at local level of our COVID response in two key areas:
- Greater access to very localised testing that can be deployed quickly and flexibly where is it need.
- Greater localisation of contact tracing and follow-up so that we can improve the responsiveness and timeliness of the response
We are also asking for ongoing support for adult social care providers to protect some of most vulnerable and elderly residents, making sure that they have resources to reduce the risk of COVID spread. We will also work with government to consider the need for a national framework and direction for further restrictions to late night licensing.
Cllr Courts concludes: “I would encourage everyone to watch this video with a message from the Council and NHS. And for the latest updates please keep following Solihull Council on Twitter and Facebook or visit our website www.solihull.gov.uk”