Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and information

Page last updated 22/10/2020

Wyre Forest COVID alert level: Medium

Full information on the local COVID alert levels from GOV.UK

Play your part, protect our district

Wyre Forest District Council is working closely with Public Health England to stop the spread of coronavirus, but we need you to play your part, protect our district and help us avoid a local lockdown. We are updating these webpages regularly with the latest national advice and guidance and key local information.

Coronavirus symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can get a free test.

What to do if you develop symptoms

If you develop symptoms - you need to do two things

  1. You and anyone in your household must immediately self-isolate until you receive the results of your test.
  2. You need to order a test immediately. You can do this online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you don’t have access to the internet.

NHS Test and Trace service will contact you with your results. If your test is positive you must continue to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started. Anyone in your household must continue to self-isolate for a total of 14 days.

If your test is negative you and everyone in your household no longer needs to self-isolate. However, if you do still feel unwell you should remain at home until you feel better.

If you test positive you will need to tell the NHS Test and Trace service who you have been in close and recent contact with around the time you noticed symptoms.

Doing this can stop the spread of infection and save lives. Rest assured that when the service contacts people to advise them to self-isolate, they do not tell them your identity. Together we can control the spread of the virus and protect people and livelihoods.

If you don’t have symptoms – do not get a test.

You should only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested by a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council.

You do not need to get a test if you have returned from abroad or are about to travel, you are returning to the workplace, you have been in contact with a confirmed case or if another member of your household has symptoms. You need to self-isolate if you have been in contact with a confirmed case but you should only get a test if you have symptoms.

More information on self-isolation.

Staying alert remains critical. Coronavirus hasn't gone away:

  • Regular hand washing is still vital
  • Keep a safe distance from others (2 metres where possible)
  • Continue to limit your contact with other people
  • Wear face coverings over your nose and mouth to protect yourself and others
  • Remember HANDS, FACE, SPACE

Worcestershire County Council local outbreak control plan

With the easing of lockdown and as we move our focus to the next phase of management of the COVID-19 epidemic, a locally led system to prevent and reduce transmission of the virus is critical.

Worcestershire County Council local outbreak control plan will build on the strong relationships with key partners and the approach already in place for tackling situations and outbreaks locally during the pandemic.

The aim of this plan is to reduce the spread of the virus, to prevent and minimise the impact of a potential second wave, whilst reducing the direct and indirect health, social and economic consequences. It details how we identify early and manage local outbreaks and how we will support high risk locations and vulnerable communities.

Council powers to impose restrictions under coronavirus regulations

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 came into force on Saturday 18 July 2020. The new regulations give local and national government additional powers to stop local transmission of the virus. These will allow them to restrict local public gatherings and events, and close local businesses premises and outdoor spaces.

The Department of Health and Social Care has published statutory guidance for councils in England on:

  • what the new regulations allow them to do and how they should exercise those powers
  • how those powers should be enforced
  • guidance for those affected by local authority directions.

More information is available on Worcestershire County Council's website.

 

Public Health England

West Midlands people must work together to keep COVID-19 rates down in the region

With cases of COVID-19 increasing across the West Midlands as they are across the country, Public Health England (PHE) is appealing to everyone to play their part in keeping R rates down and stopping more restrictions being put into place.

With the introduction of the national three tier system, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Solihull have been placed in Tier 2 – with a Local Covid Alert Level of High – which means that in those areas:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

The most recent ONS data shows that around 336,500 people had the virus in the week from 2-8 October; about 1 in every 160 people. Hospital admissions for the virus are rising in the region, as are intensive care admissions. While the epidemic re-started in younger adult age groups in the last few weeks, there is clear evidence of gradual spread into older age groups in the worst affected areas. Sadly, increases in deaths will continue in coming weeks, with well over 800 UK lives lost over the last week. The good news is that we are much more certain now that children are usually not badly affected by COVID-19.

The R rate for the UK is between 1.3 – 1.5, so on average, for every 10 people infected, 13 to 15 people will be infected by onward transmission. Every NHS region in England has an R well above 1.0, suggesting widespread transmission across the country. In the West Midlands region, there were 1,105.4 cases per 100,000 of population as of today (21 October). Scientists estimate the doubling time in the UK for new infections is between 8 and 16 days and is even faster in some areas.

Dr Helen Carter, Deputy Regional Director with Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands, said:“We’ve been in the grip of this pandemic for the last six months and we know people are getting tired of all the changes they’re having to make in their daily lives, but we’re now at a tipping point similar to March and we have to act to prevent history repeating itself. We’re in this for the long haul, and the more people that ignore the guidance to wear face coverings in enclosed public places, who don’t observe social distancing, don’t wash and sanitise their hands regularly, and don’t observe the local restrictions in place – the worse things will become, the more restrictions will be put in place in the West Midlands, and more people will die across the region.

“As well as an increase in cases and deaths, we’re also seeing rising hospitalisations and admissions to intensive care, due to COVID. In the last month we have seen large increases in younger people getting the virus, particularly in student populations. However, now numbers of cases in people over the age of 60 are rising rapidly in the West Midlands. It is important that everyone things ‘hands, face, space’ and sticks to the government guidance for their area. For the most part, young people have mild symptoms, but it’s their parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents who are in danger of becoming seriously ill with this virus. So, even if you’re not worried for yourself – think of those other people, who are older, have long-term health conditions, and who might not survive COVID-19. We can only fight this virus together, please play your part.”

We must all continue to follow the guidance:

  • Wash your hands more than you normally would and thoroughly
  • Wear a face covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult and where you will be with people you do not normally meet
  • Keep a distance of 2 metres where possible
  • If you are asked to self-isolate then do so, do not go out for any reason
  • If you have symptoms get a test
  • Work from home where you can
  • Follow the rule of 6 and all restrictions in your area

Dr Helen Carter added: “Winter is always a difficult time for our NHS, but this year, along with facing flu season and the added pressures on health that the cold weather brings, we are also in the midst of a severe pandemic. As health professionals we’re doing everything we can to prepare, but we have to be realistic, so we need everyone’s help to support us through this next challenge. We are also looking at the indirect harms caused by COVID-19; keeping diagnostic services going, treatment for cancer patients, and providing mental health support. Importantly, we need people to come forward for that care when they need it – don’t let the fear of coronavirus put you off getting essential tests and treatments.

“Everyone has to take responsibility for their own health, that of their family and friends, but also for their wider communities. We can get through this pandemic, but we all have to work together and look after each other.”

From 14 September, if you form or continue in a support bubble, you cannot then change your support bubble. It does not have to be the same support bubble you may have been in previously.

What has changed – 22 September

Advice on meeting others safely. The ‘rule of 6’ (when meeting friends and family you do not live with you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors) is still in place with additional measures:

  • Support groups must be limited to a maximum of 15 people (from 24 September).
  • Indoor organised sport for over 18s will no longer be exempt from the rule of six. There is an exemption for indoor organised team sports for disabled people (from 24 September).
  • There will be a new exemption in those areas of local intervention where household mixing is not allowed to permit friends and family to provide informal childcare for children under 14 (from 24 September).
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people (down from 30). Other significant standalone life events will be subject to the ‘rule of six’ limits, except funerals (from 28 September).

Use of face coverings have been extended to customers in taxis and private hire vehicles, customers in hospitality venues (except when at a table to eat or drink) and staff in hospitality and retail. It has become law (24 September) to wear face covering and visors in close contact services.

Where you can work effectively from home you should do so.

Businesses selling food or drink and other indoor leisure centres or facilities must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September). In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table. Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).

Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September).

The Government has announced a new financial package to support and enforce self-isolation.

In some circumstances, if you are required by law to self-isolate from Monday 28 September you may be supported by a payment of £500, payable from Wyre Forest District Council.

Read more information on the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme and our self-isolation privacy notice.

From 24 September 2020, venues from hospitality, leisure and tourism, close contact services, and local authority venues across England are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster at their venue. Further guidance is available to sectors in scope of this legal requirement can be found by visiting GOV.UK

This will make it easier for customers with the app to check-in and allow NHS Test and Trace to alert users and provide them with public health advice in the event of a coronavirus outbreak linked to a venue.

By more of us downloading the app – we have the power to help contain the virus and help protect our friends, families and community in across the district.

Non-compliance

The hospitality sector will be required to ask for contact details of customers, visitors and staff on behalf of NHS Test and Trace. If you do not provide these details you may be refused entry.

Reporting business non-compliance

If you are concerned a business is in breach of the coronavirus measures you can report this to Worcestershire Regulatory Services by calling 01905 822799 or by email.

Reporting face covering non-compliance

Premises where face coverings are required should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law. If individuals refuse to comply it may result as a police matter and a fine. Those working within the retail sector are now required to wear facemasks.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering in public indoor settings, including taxis, public transport, shops and supermarkets - unless you are exempt for health, age or equality reasons.

In August 2020, the list of places where it is mandatory to wear a face covering was extended considerably, to include cinemas, concert halls, community centres, and places of worship.  For the full list visit the government website.

Anyone using a taxi, including the driver and passengers, are required to wear facemasks within vehicles.

Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings.
Your face covering must cover your nose and mouth at all times.

Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, which remains an important action.

Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear face coverings. Children under the age of 3 must not wear face coverings as there is a risk of suffocation.

More information and guidance on face coverings is available to read on the GOV.UK website.

Local restrictions in the West Midlands. Some of our neighbouring areas have restrictions, find out what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in the West Midlands.

NSPCC helpline

Domestic abuse and sexual violence information

Mental Health Foundation looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Diabetes UK has provided an updated information page for people living with diabetes.

Asthma UK has released a blog post with advice for people with asthma.

The British Heart Foundation has published guidance for people with health problems.

The National Eczema Society has offered advice on hand washing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions.

SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support.

Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Primary Immunodeficiency UK have issued advice and support.

Cancer Research UK - Coronavirus and cancer