For the first time in two years, this long bank holiday weekend (15 – 18 April) offers the opportunity for family and friends to get together without any COVID-19 restrictions.
However, with rates of COVID-19 remaining high in the borough, Walsall residents are being encouraged to stay safe over the April bank holiday to help stop the spread of the virus as COVID spreads most easily when people mix and mingle.
It is important to keep up the simple habits we relied on during earlier stages of the pandemic to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and other illnesses to avoid passing on to others. This includes:
- If you are not feeling well, stay at home
- Wash hands or use hand sanitiser to kill germs before they can spread
- Open a window when meeting people indoors, or get together outside
- Wear a face covering in crowded places
- Get vaccinated
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health said:
“This bank holiday weekend is the first time in two years that we can get together with family and friends without restrictions in place. However, we still need to do all we can to reduce the risk of catching and passing on respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
“COVID rates remain high in Walsall, with the current rate in the borough at 396 per 100,000 of population. It is estimated that 1 in 14 people in the West Midlands region currently have the virus.
“This is why it is important to be extra careful, no matter how much we have been looking forward to getting together. If we do not feel well or have any symptoms of a respiratory infection like COVID-19 or a high temperature, cough, runny nose, or sore throat, we should stay at home until we are better.
“Do not risk passing on an illness to family or friends. You might be ok, but they might get seriously ill. You can resume normal activities once you feel well enough and no longer have a high temperature for at least 48 hours.
“If you are due your next vaccine dose or are thinking about taking your children to be vaccinated, please do not wait any longer. Appointments can be booked online via the NHS website or by calling 119.
“NHS services will still be available over the weekend, but please choose wisely. If you have an urgent but non-life-threatening medical need, make sure you use NHS 111 first rather than going straight to A&E.”
Notes to editor
- Data is taken from the ONS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK - Office for National Statistics and Walsall Council’s dashboard on COVID-19 data for Walsall.
- The latest guidance on Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19 is available on GOV.UK
- Residents can still come forward for their COVID-19 vaccination, including over 75’s or those who have a specific medical condition for their spring booster and children aged five to 11 years old.
- To book appointments, visit the NHS website: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination. Appointments can also be booked by calling 119, which is available in 200 languages. Those who need help from a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter can use the free online 119 BSL interpreter service from SignVideo.
- Walsall’s Saddlers Vaccination Centre (Saddlers Shopping Centre, Bridgeman Street, WS1 1YT) will be open on Easter Saturday between 10am and 6pm for those who want to make an appointment for their first, second, third or booster jabs this Bank Holiday.
- The centre, which relocated to the former Walsall Urgent Care Centre on Bridgeman Street in the town at the start of this month, will be closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Bank Holiday Monday. It will re-open on Tuesday 19 April for people who have booked appointments between 10am and 6pm. Find out more on the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust website.
- NHS services including NHS 111 and pharmacies continue to be available during the bank holiday weekend. Pharmacies across Walsall may be open at different times. It is advised to check on the NHS website to see if they are open before making a journey.