Happy bank holiday weekend and remain alert to Covid!

A smiley face and the words 'Stay Safe' spray painted onto the groundSandwell Council is asking residents of the borough to remain alert in the battle against Covid-19 over the bank holiday weekend. Although free testing has ended for most people, the council would like to remind people that the pandemic is not over and urges us to remain vigilant and act to help limit the spread. 

Covid rates in Sandwell are actually low compared to the rest of the country but they are still higher than compared to other points during the pandemic. It is still possible to catch and spread Covid-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, and people are urged to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if they have any of the main symptoms or receive a positive test result. 

The main symptoms include:

  • A high temperature or chills
  • A new, continuous cough 
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

Despite the easing of Government restrictions, there are still some simple steps we can all take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19:

  • Get vaccinated – the vaccine is your best defence against the virus, please do not miss out on any jabs you are eligible for
  • Let fresh air in if meetings indoors, or meet outside
  • Consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces
  • If you can, test yourself if you have Covid-19 symptoms, and stay at home if positive.

While people are no longer legally required to self-isolate, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least five full days if they have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19 or a positive test result. Employers are advised to recommend these actions to any of their staff who have symptoms or a positive test result.

Sandwell’s public health team remains ready to step services back up again if there are any changes to the course of the pandemic and the council is retaining its capacity to respond to outbreaks in certain settings such as care homes.

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell Council’s director of public health, said: “Our overriding aim is to protect and support the people of Sandwell, but the global pandemic is not yet over and there is still some uncertainty about how the UK will be affected.

“Vaccines offer the best protection, and these have enabled the gradual removal of restrictions on everyday life. But everyone knows that the end of government restrictions doesn’t mean the virus has gone away. The public health team will continue to keep our outbreak response in place and make sure case rates are carefully monitored.

“I would urge everyone in Sandwell to continue to follow the latest Covid-19 guidance. In particular, we should make sure we never go to work or school if we have Covid-like symptoms. It’s our choice to protect ourselves and our family from the potentially serious illness that the virus can cause.”

There are a small number of people who may still be able to get free Covid-19 tests from the NHS including those with some health conditions, people due to have surgery and various NHS and social care roles. Find out more about who may still be able to get free tests here.

If you’re not up to date with your Covid-19 jabs, you can still get them at a number of local pharmacies and other venues in Sandwell. Find out more information about where vaccinations are available here.

Visit the NHS website to find a fully updated list of symptoms in adults and children and more information about what to do if you have symptoms.

For more information on living and working with Covid and how to continue protecting your staff and Sandwell business from Covid-19 visit our Living and working with Covid page.

Stay safe and enjoy the long bank holiday weekend!


[Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash]