Covid infections remain high across West Midlands as Tier 3 looms

Coronavirus infections in the West Midlands remain some of the highest in the country despite a continuing decline over lockdown.

New figures show that positive cases have fallen sharply in every part of the region since the start of the latest lockdown, with many areas seeing drops of around 50 per cent.

However, the region still has the highest infections in the country along with the East Midlands, with MPs warning a third lockdown could be on the cards unless people remained vigilant.

For the first week of lockdown, starting on November 5, there were 1,485 positive cases in Dudley, 1,175 in Walsall, 943 in Wolverhampton, 1,637 in Sandwell, 561 in Stafford, 360 in Cannock Chase and 518 in South Staffordshire.

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In the week beginning November 23 the number had fallen by 44 per cent in Dudley, 48 per cent in Walsall, 36 per cent in Wolverhampton, 57 per cent in Sandwell, 52 per cent in Stafford, 49 per cent in Cannock Chase and 61 per cent in South Staffordshire.

Meanwhile Lichfield saw one of the biggest week-on-week falls in the country in the week to November 24, with infection rates sliding from 370.4 per 100,000 people to 194.7.

For England as a whole there was a 30 per cent drop in cases over almost a fortnight this month, findings from Imperial College London’s React study showed.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases in the West Midlands by date of positive test, since October 1
The seven-day average coronavirus infection rate in the West Midlands since October 1

Sandwell’s director of public health, Dr Lisa McNally, said: “People in Sandwell are well aware that our dense urban environment and economic deprivation leave our area vulnerable to coronavirus.

"They have fought back against this and we’ve seen a massive response from our voluntary sector groups, faith communities, schools and businesses.

“But there is no room for complacency.”

Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden, said: “We can’t turn public health measures into some kind of ideological divide. More than 50,000 people have died from this virus and with vaccines in sight we have to keep doing the responsible thing to try to control it.”

Walsall Council boss Mike Bird believes “complacency” has resulted in the town being placed in the highest Covid risk category. HE added there was evidence of increasing transmissions in some supermarkets in Walsall where people were failing to use hand sanitisers going in and out of the stores. He said: “The people need to keep taking the ‘medicine’.”

Dr Richard Harling, director of health and care at Staffordshire County Council said: “Rates look to be on a downward trend in Staffordshire which is an encouraging sign, but it is vital we don’t let our guard down.

"We must remain focussed and continue to follow the national restrictions.

"We have shown in the last few weeks that we can work together and bring cases down, and the challenge now is to maintain this when the current national lockdown restrictions end.”

The Black Country and Staffordshire is expected to go into Tier 3 tomorrow following a vote in the Commons tonight.

This means there is a ban on meeting people outside support bubbles indoors, and pubs, cafes and restaurants are only allowed to offer takeaway services. or click and collect service, with the rule of six imposed outdoors.

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