Warning to Black Country residents as three areas identified as Covid-19 hotspots

A warning has been issued for residents in three Covid hotspots in Sandwell.

People living and working in the Cradley Heath and Old Hill, Blackheath and St Paul's areas are being warned to take extra care due to high rates of Covid-19.

Infection rates in the three wards are around double the average rate for the whole of Sandwell, with more than 100 residents testing positive for Covid-19 in these three hotspots in the past week.

The Covid-19 infection rate in Blackheath is 269 cases per 100,000 (33 people infected in past week).

The infection rate in Cradley Heath and Old Hill is 250 per 100,000 (35 people infected in past week).

And the rate in the St Paul's area of Smethwick is 248 per 100,000 (39 people infected in past week).

The average infection rate for the whole of Sandwell is 134 per 100,000 – around half that of these three wards.

Covid-19 infections in the three hotspot wards are mainly among people aged 65 and under, with many cases being among households where somebody else had already tested positive. Many infections are among school age children.

Sandwell’s Director of Public Health has called on people to take extra care, use rapid tests at home twice a week and to be particularly vigilant to infections among young people aged 11 to 16 – where the infection rates are highest.

Dr Lisa McNally said: “The case rates in Cradley Heath and Old Hill, Blackheath and St Paul's are causing us great concern.

“They are much, much higher than the rest of Sandwell, and to see more than 100 individuals test positive in the past week in just three wards is very concerning.

“I'm asking people living and working in these areas to take extra care to avoid becoming infected and passing Covid-19 on to others.

“In particular, if anyone has Covid-19 symptoms, stay home and book a test. If we don’t self-isolate when we have symptoms we can put other people’s lives at risk.

“And, most importantly, if you’re not already vaccinated then please book your appointments now.

“This advice goes for everyone in Sandwell of course – however, with more cases circulating in those three particular wards, the risk of becoming infected is much higher.

“It’s vital that everyone continues to do all they can to keep themselves safe and stop the spread of the virus – it’s still deadly and it’s still out there.”

Covid-19 vaccinations are now available to everyone over the age of 18. For details, and to book your first or second vaccination go to nhs.uk/covidvaccination

Pop-up clinics are operating in Sandwell – for details follow us on Facebook and Twitter and check sandwell.gov.uk/news for updates.

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