From today (19 July), many of the COVID-19 control measures that we have followed over the past year have now been lifted. As we move into step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, Walsall Council has a simple but serious message for the borough, COVID-19 is still with us and we must all take individual and collective responsibility to help lower its transmission rates.
The number of Walsall residents who are testing positive for COVID-19 is rapidly rising. It is very important that we continue to practice the habits that we know have helped reduce spread of the virus over the past 16 months. Maintaining this good practice when we come into close contact with others is especially important.
Walsall Council Public Health urges caution and advises residents and visitors to stay cautious and protect yourself and others by continuing to:
- meet up outside, or if you’re indoors and have visitors — open windows or doors
- if you think you might have COVID-19 symptoms, take a PCR test and stay home
- wear face coverings in crowded places to help protect others
- get both does of the COVID-19 vaccine if you are 18 or over
- check in with the NHS COVID-19 app when you’re out
- wash your hands with soap regularly and for at least 20 seconds
- maintain social distancing by not unnecessarily being in crowded areas and continuing to work from home if possible
- make testing part of your routine — everyone should undertake twice weekly rapid symptom-free testing using lateral flow tests (or ‘LFTs’)
- self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, especially if you work in a high-risk setting.
Walsall Council Public Health urges caution and advises businesses and workplaces in Walsall to:
- continue to adhere to COVID-19 working safely guidance, including provision of washing facilities and proper ventilation with external fresh air
- continue to engage with the test, trace and isolate process, and increase testing if your workplace has had an outbreak
- encourage your employees to get tested if they suspect they have COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate if positive
- encourage your employees to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health said:
“The pandemic is far from over and COVID-19 still poses a risk. The situation in Walsall has changed dramatically over the past few weeks. Our case rates are high and continue to increase. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe.
“The majority of cases are those who are aged between18-29 who have not yet been fully vaccinated. We are also seeing people catching the virus from those they live with or are spending time with socially.
“Although hospitalisations due to serious illness and deaths are lower thanks to the vaccines, COVID-19 remains a virus you do not want to catch. For some people it can make them very ill, regardless of their age. Many residents are experiencing Long COVID, meaning they continue to have health problems week and months after testing positive.
“The basic infection control measures that we’ve all become used to, such as washing hands frequently, wearing face coverings, social distancing and meeting outdoors where possible, have undoubtedly played a part in keeping infection rates low. These are simple things that we can all do. So every time we do decide to continue with these measures it will help stem the transmission of the virus.
“If we act responsibly and work together, we can protect ourselves, protect our loved ones and, protect our community. This way we can continue to have a safe and responsible route into normal life.”
Notes to editors