'Dramatic' fall in Covid cases in Rowley

People in a Sandwell ward have been praised for their efforts after a "significant fall" in Covid-19 infection rates after a warning was issued.

Health chiefs have praised people in Rowley – and others for sharing the message – after the rate in the area rose to 519 per 10,000 people.

A week later – the week ending November 21 – the rate had fallen to less than half of that, with the area the only one to see a dramatic fall.

It comes after it was revealed there was a higher incidence of AY.4.2 variant compared to other areas in the borough – a sub-variant of the virus.

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “We would like to thank members of the public and the local media for sharing our warning last week – and to everyone who has taken extra care to prevent the further spread of infection.

“We were concerned by the surge in the rate in Rowley ward in particular, and this significant fall in infection rates is very welcome.

“Nowhere else in Sandwell saw such a dramatic fall in infections over this period. Overall, we have seen a rise in Sandwell, on average in line with the rest of the country, and our rates remain among the lowest in the region.

“We remain vigilant as surges in infection can happen at any time, especially in the light of the AY.4.2 variant and it’s greater ability to spread quickly. We all need to keep up our guard as we go into winter. AY.4.2 is thought to be more transmissible but there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness and the vaccine is very effective against it.”

In the Tividale ward, where a warning was also shared, has also seen a significant fall in cases over the same period.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, cabinet member for adults, social care and health, added: "We urge anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet to get their jabs as soon as they can and please, if you’re eligible for a booster vaccine, get that as well.

"It’s absolutely crucial that if we have Covid-19 symptoms we stay home and get tested. Ignoring this advice can cost lives."

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