SOLIHULL now has 225 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 with a further 701 probable cases, says the borough’s director of public health Ruth Tennant.
In the last seven days Solihull has seen a 31 per cent increase in cases taking the rate up to 606.9 per 100,000 with just over 1,400 new cases.
She said this figures is expected to go up sharply over the next days and weeks.
“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 as families start to come together for Christmas.”
The news comes as figures show more than 30,000 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.
This variant can evade (at least partially) antibodies in people who have previously been infected and in some who have had their vaccines.
Furthermore, the time from infection to symptoms is shorter by several days, and a person infected with Omicron, which is the most infectious variant so far, can infect others more quickly.
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.
“Even if it is milder for many people a smaller proportion are very ill.
“If we have a very high number of cases this will translate into a large number of seriously ill people.
“This is what our NHS is now planning for.”
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.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to self-isolate, but you are strongly advised to be cautious and test,” she said.
“If you’re not vaccinated it is a legal requirement to self-isolate.”
As of yesterday, Wednesday, December 22, people who are self-isolating and fully vaccinated can stop after seven days if they get two negative lateral flow test results 24 hours apart on day six and day seven – but they should still be very careful.
Note this only applies to people who have been fully vaccinated.
She advises that people should take rapid lateral flow tests before going out.
The Council’s community testing team continues to provide onsite testing at in Mell Square and at Chelmsley Wood and these have home test supplies.
Check the Council’s main Covid testing page for opening hours and times: https://www.solihull.gov.uk/COVID-19/covid-testing
The latest research shows if people have had their booster jabs they have very high protection against being severely ill from Covid.
Vaccination centre details:
Jaguar Land Rover – Logistics Operations Centre, Damson Parkway, Solihull, B92 9ED – For directions, the What 3 Words reference to find the location is: ///bring.star.stores (this can be typed into Google Maps). They are offering the Pfizer vaccination for people aged 16+
Thursday, December 23: Open until 6pm plus there is a free shuttle bus and a free ring and ride service to and from the clinic operating today. More info can be found: https://www.solihull.gov.uk/news/free-transportation-available-residents-get-vaccinated-christmas.
Friday, December 24: 8am to 2pm – the free shuttle bus will be running until 12.30pm.
Monkspath Vaccination Centre, 27 Farmhouse Way, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4EH. They offering Pfizer vaccination, for people aged 18+
Thursday, December 23 to 5pm.
Friday, December 24: 8.30am to 12.30pm
Solihull High Street Vaccination Centre, 94 High Street, Solihull, B91 3TA. They are offering the Pfizer vaccination, for people aged 16+
Open daily: 8am to 9pm
Weekends: 8am to 6pm
Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Closed to people aged 16+ on December 28-29 but will be open for children aged 12-15 only:
Tuesday, December 28: 9am to 5pm
Wednesday, December 29: 8am to 4pm