Dudley Covid rates soar to highest in Black Country - as health chiefs warn lockdown could carry on into December

Dudley now has the highest coronavirus rates in the Black Country, according to new figures.

There are fears lockdown could continue into December
There are fears lockdown could continue into December

It comes as health chiefs in the Black Country have issued a stark warning that unless coronavirus case numbers fall, lockdown restrictions could be in place well into December.

Bal Kaur, director of public health for Dudley Council, has said Covid figures are continuing to soar as lockdown enters its third week – and is urging people to stay vigilant.

Her calls have been echoed by a leading GP and hospital chief.

For months Dudley had one of the lowest rates in the West Midlands, which helped keep the borough in Tier One for longer, but this now stands 533.3 per 100,000, putting it the highest in the Black Country.

The increase in testing is being cited as one of the reasons the number of positive cases has risen, but the key to bringing this figure down is by everyone following the lockdown rules, she said.

Ms Kaur said: "During this lockdown there’s a window of opportunity when, if we all work together we can bring down the infection rate. We recognise this is another huge sacrifice for so many people in our borough, who have already done so much to help us protect our communities. But we must do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

"If the rates don’t start to fall, there’s the possibility we’ll be in a position none of us want to be in where local restrictions could still be in place after the national lockdown and in the run up to Christmas.

"I would urge all residents across the borough to play their part - stay at home and follow the government advice."

Impact

Dr Ruth Edwards, GP and chairman of Dudley CCG said: "Thank you to the people of Dudley for your efforts so far, we understand this is a difficult time, however as cases continue to rise it’s very important that everyone adheres to the new restrictions that are now in place.

"We are committed to working with public health colleagues and local partners who are doing everything they can to prevent outbreaks and stop the virus from spreading.

"We continue to be open for our patients and it is vitally important that people continue to use NHS services. If you, or someone in your family is experiencing a symptom that is unusual, which is causing concern, then please get in touch with your GP surgery."

Diane Wake, chief executive at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust added: "We know just how hard everyone is finding the current restrictions and the impact that is having on the communities of Dudley.

"We also see first hand the effect Covid-19 is having on hospital and community services and we need everyone to play their part in reducing the number of infections in Dudley.

"Our community was amazing through the first wave and we need everyone to once again follow the guidance and restrictions in place most importantly wash hands often, wear a face covering and keep space between people."

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