West Midlands will see second wave of Covid-19, health boss says
There is no question that the West Midlands will be hit by a second wave of Covid-19 cases, a top health official has warned.
The blunt warning was delivered to Sandwell health chiefs as new data emerged to show that the local infection rate is no longer falling.
Dr Lisa McNally, director of public health for Sandwell Council, told a meeting of Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board despite a dramatic fall in cases since April, the disease appeared to be fighting back.
Covid-19 has killed nearly 400 people in care homes and local hospitals in the borough.
Dr McNally warned: “There will be a second [Covid-19] wave. There is little point in speculating about whether there will or won’t be a second wave of cases.
“It’s really a question of about how big it is and how close it comes to challenging the capacity of our partners in hospitals.”
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Her warning was echoed by Toby Lewis, chief executive of Sandwell General and City hospitals, who said that although the number of wards dealing with Covid-19 had fallen from ten to only one, another outbreak was on the way.
Saying the NHS was ready to cope, he said: “There clearly will be a second wave. The only exam question is almost what is its nature?
"Will it be a community wave, will it be a mental health wave or will it be more of what we have already seen?
“We are ready to expand as we did before and we are confident of that.”
Neither health boss indicated when a second wave would happen but Mr Lewis said the local hospitals were preparing plans to deal with an outbreak alongside normally increase in admissions during the winter.
Their warnings came as the Government announced another series of changes to lockdown rules, including allowing single people and lone parents to move into the homes of close family members.