AN ‘INCREDIBLY concerning’ rise in Covid-19 cases across the West Midlands has prompted Public Health England (PHE) to urge residents to observe self-isolation guidance.
As of Monday (November 16), there had been 45,783 deaths in England, with 5,535 people from the West Midlands losing their life since the start of the pandemic.
The rate of cases per 100,000 head of population in the West Midlands it is 358.9, higher than the national rate of 271.1.
The over 60s are the most affected age group, leading to an increased number of hospitalisations and greater pressures on the NHS.
The Midlands as a whole has been identified as suffering the highest rates of household transmission in the country – with the significant number of multi-generational households likely to be a key factor.
Dr Lola Abudu, PHE Deputy Director for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Maintaining social distancing at all times is important within multigenerational households with elderly parents and grandparents who may have underlying health issues and are particularly vulnerable.
“If someone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19, they must self-isolate for at least 10 days, or until they are 48 hours clear of any fever – whichever is the longest.
“Everyone else in the household, including any members of a support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days. You mustn’t leave the house for any reason at all, which includes going to work or grocery shopping and you must avoid contact with other members of your household throughout the isolation period.
“It may be difficult for some to separate themselves from household members, especially if they are living with children or have caring responsibilities. However, I would encourage them to follow the guidance to the best of their ability.
“Use a face covering when spending time in shared areas in your home, wash hands regularly, and keep rooms well-ventilated by opening windows where possible. It is important to use anti-bacterial cleaner on regularly touched areas such as door handles, cupboard and fridge doors.”
People are also urged to register for a test if they are experiencing one of the three main symptoms associated with Covid-19 – dry and persistent cough, raised temperature, and change or loss of taste and/or smell. Testing sites across the region have increased capacity to administer tests and anyone experiencing symptoms is urged to make use of them.
Dr Abudu added: “We know receiving a positive test result may have a significant impact on your life and livelihood, but it is vital that those who test positive and their households isolate properly.
“If you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you’re on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, you may be entitled to a payment of £500 from your local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.
“The increase in cases across the region is incredibly concerning, particularly among the over 60 age group, which is also having a significant impact on our hospitals and NHS staff.
“A huge number of sacrifices have already been made by everyone over the last eight months, but it is important that all this good work has not been in vain and that everyone continues to play their part to reduce the spread of the virus.”