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Covid-19 shutdown warning to Sandwell businesses hit by virus

By Peter Madeley | Sandwell | Health | Published:

Businesses in Sandwell with coronavirus cases among staff have been warned they will be shut down unless they contact the borough's public health team for urgent testing.

McDonald's in Great Bridge is currently closed due to Covid cases among staff

Council bosses are desperately trying to stop the spread of the virus in the borough, which has one of the highest infection rates in the country.

They say they will not hesitate to close down businesses that fail to report Covid-19 cases and have also today urged people not to visit other households. West Bromwich is the latest area to see a surge in cases, an emergency meeting was told.

Latest rates of infection in the region:

The rate of new cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to July 27.

Thee figures show the rate of new cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to July 27 with the number of new cases in that period in brackets, followed by equivalent figure for the previous seven days to July 20.

Data for the most recent three days has been excluded as it is incomplete and likely to be revised.

  • Sandwell 28.1 (92) v 26.9 (88)
  • Wolverhampton 16.4 (43) v 6.1 (16)
  • Birmingham 13.1 (149) v 13.4 (153)
  • Cannock Chase 8.0 (8) v 6.0 (6)
  • Lichfield 7.7 (8) v 4.8 (5)
  • Walsall 7.1 (20) v 9.9 (28)
  • Dudley 5.3 (17) v 1.2 (4)
  • South Staffordshire 4.5 (5) v 3.6 (4)
  • Stafford 3.7 (5) v 2.9 (4)
  • Click here to see the full list of English infection rates

It comes after McDonald's in Great Bridge temporarily closed after five staff members tested positive for the virus.

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The restaurant is expected to stay shut for the next two weeks, with all staff members at the branch set to undergo tests.

More Covid-19 coverage:

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Sandwell Council says member of the public who visited the restaurant are "not specifically required" to get tested, unless they display Covid-19 symptoms.

This is because the branch was not offering sit-down dining before it closed, meaning any contact with staff would have been "absolutely minimal".

Sandwell Council's deputy leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “We’re working with businesses across Sandwell to make sure they are aware of their responsibilities regarding reporting cases of Covid-19 among staff and also giving advice and support to make sure they are operating safely.

“Our absolute priority is to limit the spread of Covid-19 and protect the public.

“We urge any business with two or more cases of Covid-19 to get in touch with the council’s public health team so we can assist them to reduce the spread of infection.

"It’s in the interest of all businesses to get in touch with us to prevent potential closure of their business or further spread of infection."

The Government has announced new restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus across Greater Manchester and parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Earlier this week, Sandwell Council's director of public health Dr Lisa McNally said the borough was halfway to a local lockdown.

At 28 new cases per 100,000 people, the rate of infection in Sandwell is one of the highest in the country and is higher than the 26.1 rate in Manchester. The places with the highest infection rate in the country are Blackburn with Darwen (89.3), Leicester (60.2) and Oldham (54.3).

Dr McNally has also said that the borough had set up its own test and trace system due to concerns that the Government's system was failing to contact people affected by coronavirus.

Businesses in Sandwell have been asked to email PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk or go to healthysandwell.co.uk/covid to report cases.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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