Warning as Covid-19 infection rates in Rowley Regis remain high despite Sandwell having lowest overall rate in the region

Covid-19 rates in Sandwell are among the lowest in the region but infection rates remain high in Rowley Regis amongst young people, figures show.

Cases are at their highest in people aged between 11 to 25 in the town's four council wards of Rowley, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Old Hill and Tividale.

Data from Sandwell Council showed the infection rate in the Rowley ward was 519 per 100,000 people which is twice the average for Sandwell as a whole.

The infection rate for the borough is at 261 per 100,000 whilst the rate in Blackheath stands at 451 per 100,000 which has been put down to virus variants.

There is a higher level of the AY.4.2 variant in Rowley, compared to other Sandwell areas, which is a sub-variant closely related to the Covid-19 Delta variant.

The new strain – which carries two additional mutations of the Delta variant which is dominant across the UK – is currently rising in parts of the country.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for adults, social care and health, said: "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.

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

"I’d also advise that no one goes into this winter without having their vaccines. Missing out on that protection will leave you much more vulnerable to severe illness. Get both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and the booster jab if you’re eligible."

People in Rowley Regis, and the wider Sandwell borough, have been urged to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus by following a string of health measures – including getting vaccinated, test regularly and wear a face covering.

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