Dudley set for talks over tougher tier 2 restrictions as Covid cases rise

Dudley could be set to be placed under stricter lockdown restrictions due to the continued rise in Covid infection rates.

Health chiefs say talks are expected to take place next week over tightening measures in the borough, which is currently under the lowest level of intervention after being classed as a "medium" risk area.

Should infection rates continue to increase further, Dudley is expected to join the rest of the Black Country and Birmingham in the tier two "high" alert level, meaning a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

The infection rate in Dudley surged to 107 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to October 11, almost double the rate recorded on October 1.

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Clive Wright, West Midlands regional convenor for the Department of Health, said: "As we look at the numbers, it is possible, although not inevitable, that all of the combined authority areas will soon be at the high level."

He added: "Dudley could be a discussion this week, and we are looking at the numbers all the time, and the case rates and what that might mean going forward.

"We do expect the numbers to go up, but that many not be the only factor."

Councillor Patrick Harley, the leader of Dudley Council, has warned that the borough could face extra restrictions unless the rise in cases was curbed.

He said: "We all need to redouble our efforts to prevent further spread to avoid moving into the high-risk threshold and the additional restrictions this will bring to our lives."

Meanwhile Diane Wake, chief executive at The Dudley Group NHS Trust, said pressures on A&E services at Russells Hall Hospital had increased in recent weeks.

She said: "We are seeing increasing demand into our emergency department and to our medical speciality services.

"We are doing all we can to see patients as quickly as possible."

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