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


Stay Home - Protect the NHS - Save Lives

We are now at the most serious point in the pandemic.

Our COVID infection figures are the highest they have been, at 551 infections per 100,000, up 62% in the last week. The rate amongst the over 60s has also gone up by 68% and hospitals right across the country are under extreme pressure. The average age of patients on intensive care units is now under 60, which is an important sign that COVID does not just affect older people.

This is really serious. We need to put the brakes on COVID now.

This new variant – which now accounts for 7 in 10 of all cases in the borough - is much easier to catch, so it’s even more important that we do everything we can to stop the spread. Not everyone with COVID has symptoms so the best way you can protect yourself is to behave as if you – and anyone you meet – has COVID.

Remember every single unnecessary interaction you have could be a link in a chain of transmission which will eventually lead to a vulnerable person who may need hospital treatment or even die.

So if you don’t have to go into your place of work to do your job, work from home. If you do need to go out for essential reasons, please act as if you or the people around you might have COVID.

Self-isolation is also really important to stop the spread. We have just extended our financial support for people who need to self-isolate and our dedicated team of contact tracers can also help you in other ways so you can self-isolate for the full 10 days.

And if you or someone you live with does test positive, there are simple steps you can take to stop it spreading to other people in your house.

  • Try to isolate in a room apart from other people
  • Open windows to keep rooms well ventilated
  • Keep at least 2m away from people in your house, for example by sitting as far away from other people as you can
  • Keep rooms that you have to share clean by using disinfectant to spray touch points such as door handles or light switches
  • Avoiding touching things like towels or toothbrushes that other people will use

The current lockdown will not last forever. We now have vaccines, drugs and treatments, that will help us to return to some measure of normality.  It means we can look forward in the future to being with our family and friends once again.  But we are not there yet and we need a big effort now.

On a positive note, on Monday our local vaccination centre, based at Millennium Point in Birmingham, became operational as part of the next step in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccinations. People aged 80 and over who live within 30 to 45 minutes of the centre, and haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP, will be the first to receive letters to book their appointments for a jab.  You can find out more about our local vaccination programme in Solihull and Birmingham here.

This follows the vaccination programme – the biggest in NHS history – getting off to a strong start.  Since the beginning of last month, about 2.4 million people across the UK have been vaccinated.  

The next few weeks are crucial.  If it is essential you go out, then follow the hands, face, space rules. Otherwise, do the right thing for you, your household, your family and friends and for Solihull.  Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.