People told not to visit each other’s homes in Sandwell as Covid concerns remain high

People in Sandwell are being told not to visit each other’s homes after council bosses warned that Covid infections remain "worryingly" high.

Deputy council leader Maria Crompton has told Smethwick residents they should only open their houses to care workers and remain indoors as much as possible.

Her warning came on the same day a local primary school shut after a suspected Covid-19 case.

Crocketts Community Primary School closed to students in in Years 1 to 6 on Monday and Tuesday after a staff member was suspected of having Covid-19. However, a test result for the affected staff member has come back negative meaning the school will reopen to students tomorrow.

In a video published on social media, Councillor Crompton said: “Unfortunately infection rates remain worryingly high in Smethwick and we are doing all we can to ensure people know how serious this situation is.

“Do not have visitors in your home except for essential visits by carers.

“If you run a business you must follow all the safety guidance .

“Avoid social gatherings wherever possible. If you do have to go out, maintain social distancing at all times and wear a face covering in shops and on public transport.”

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The youngster is not believed to have contracted the virus at the Wednesbury secondary school, which remains open to unaffected pupils on advice from Public Health England.

Councillor Crompton’s plea comes as the latest data for Sandwell showed a fall in new cases, with 61 people testing positive between August 29 and September 4, compared to 89 in the previous seven days.

Concerned

Numbers in the borough have see-sawed since July, when 94 cases were reported in one week and the rate of infections rose to 29 per 100,000 people.

Data shows a steady decline since then with last week’s figures felling to 19 per 100,000

But health bosses are still concerned about the spread of the virus.

A spokesman for the council said: “We are working closely with Public Health England to manage outbreaks when they occur.

“We are proactively working with businesses to help prevent workplace outbreaks and have stepped up advice to our communities, particularly in areas with higher rates of infection, to help prevent the spread of infection especially in households.”

Sandwell’s towns with the highest numbers of new cases in the seven days up to last Friday are West Bromwich with 23, Oldbury 12 and Smethwick at 11.

In addition, there have been 13 cases in the streets immediately surrounding Sheepwash and Farley Parks, Tipton over the last two weeks.

Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can get tested immediately by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling call 119.

Sandwell has walk-through mobile testing sites in Oldbury (Dudley Road), Smethwick (St Paul’s Road) and West Bromwich (Temple Street).

The Oldbury mobile testing site also offers drive-through testing. All tests must be pre-booked and people are asked not to turn up without an appointment.

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