CASES of Covid in Solihull reached 1,160 per 100,000 in the week to Christmas Eve – its highest level since August 2020, according to figures from NHS England.
In all there were 2,430 recorded cases between December 18 and 24, an increase of 956 compared to the previous week bringing the total of cases to 42,586 on Tuesday, December 28.
The figures come after Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave the green light for New Year’s Eve parties in England to go ahead with no new Covid restrictions before the end of 2021.
It means nightclubs can open and there will be no limit on people visiting pubs, however Mr Javid urged caution for party-goers and said people should take a Covid test before venturing out.
The sharp rise in Covid cases in Solihull had been predicted by the borough’s director of public health Ruth Tennant.
Speaking in the run up to Christmas she said: “Our rates are exceptionally high in young people, particularly those aged 19-24, where more than one in 100 have tested positive just this week.
“We have seen more people over the age of 60 getting infected this week too. This is a real concern.”
The rise in Covid cases comes as figures show more than 30,000 people in Solihull have still not yet been vaccinated.
“We know 32,429 people in the borough are not yet vaccinated, so please do spread the word to friends, family and neighbours that it’s easy to get vaccinated and the right thing to do to protect ourselves and each other,” said Ms Tennant.
She added that Omicron was of particular concern because scientists have found there are more virus particles in an infected person’s breath when they breathe out.
It is believed up to nine per cent of people can be re-infected by Omicron compared to around one to two per cent with Delta.
“Although early studies have found that the Omicron variant may cause milder illness than the Delta variant, we are still finding that many people are being hospitalised with Omicron,” said Ms Tennant.
“If we have a very high number of cases this will translate into a large number of seriously ill people.”
She is urging people to understand the risks, understand that self-isolation works, and that people should self-isolate straight away and take a PCR test if they have even mild Covid-19 symptoms.
She advises that people should take rapid lateral flow tests before going out.