THE number of Covid cases in Solihull have started to fall, down 16 per cent, however another three local residents died of coronavirus last week.
There are currently 588 new cases of Covid-19 in Solihull with the local rate now 269 cases per 100,000 people while the average area in England is 210.
The borough’s director of public health Ruth Tennant said: “While our latest figures are moving in the right direction and show that the lockdown measures have had an impact, they still remain high.
“The news of the Oxford vaccine is really welcome, but it may not protect us for some time, and we know what this virus is capable of.
“More than 55,000 people nationally have died from Covid this year. Now is not the time to relax and let it keep spreading.
“We will be well into spring before the most vulnerable have been vaccinated and much later until enough people have been vaccinated to get ‘population-wide immunity’.”
Solihull should hear on Thursday which tier it is in, having previously been in Tier 3.
“We know that the R rate is driven by family transmission and by people being out and about,” said Ms Tennant.
“Our current lockdown measures are helping to reduce these types of transmission, but are not stopping them.
“People are picking up the virus in their homes from family members and anyone who visits them.
“To remind you, unless they are part of your support bubble it is against the rules to visit other households because of the very high risk of spread.”
The current R rate for the Midlands is now at between 1.0 and 1.1. For the virus to reduce, it needs to fall below 1.
“I need to be honest with you about the risks of planning to host family gatherings, particularly if this involves older people,” said Ms Tennant.
” Big family get-togethers will inevitably increase the spread of the virus, and as night follows day, it will lead to more people getting ill, some of those needing hospitalisation and a number sadly dying.
“Covid isn’t like the usual Christmas excess of food and booze.
“Testing and staying at home if you test positive or are a contact of someone who has tested positive is absolutely crucial.”