The rate of Coronavirus cases in Smethwick is now more than ten times higher than the rate there in recent weeks.
Coronavirus cases in Sandwell
Coronavirus cases in Smethwick
Director of Public Health Dr Lisa McNally says,
The risk of infection in Sandwell, and especially Smethwick, is clearly increasing rapidly. Smethwick has now seen 35 cases in just over a week – that is more than 10 times the rate we were seeing only a few weeks ago and people really do need to take this very seriously.
The local MP, John Spellar, is calling for more detailed information to be passed to the local authority - not just postcode data, but exact addresses.
Frankly if there are bureaucratic obstacles, they should be swept away.
A third of the workforce at CBS Packaging in West Bromwich have been affected by the virus.
It's thought to be around 22 people at present.
It was a week before health officials knew about the outbreak - because when someone tests positive for Covid-19 - they're not asked where they work. So they didn't know there was an outbreak growing fast.
Testing of the whole workforce is starting today and people have been told to self-isolate if they have symptoms.
Director of Public Health Dr Lisa McNally said that the company is taking advice, and praised them for encouraging staff to get tested.
She said it would not be reasonable to connect the factory directly to all of the new cases seen in Smethwick.
We know the virus does not respect geographical boundaries and people do travel all over the Black Country and Birmingham for work. So we need to be aware of that and keep getting the messages out as much as possible.
But she does have worries about Test and Trace, saying it is only managing to get to about 60% of those who test positive in Sandwell. Which means the contacts of four out of ten people who test positive - won't know they might be infected.
Dr McNally is urging everyone to follow National safety guidance, and reiterating that the danger has not passed.
Talk to family, friends and colleagues and make sure they understand how critical this is.
Stay at home and self-isolate if you have a cough, high temperature or change in sense of taste or smell.
If you have symptoms, people in your household should also self-isolate at home.
Do whatever is possible to isolate symptomatic people in the household from non-symptomatic people.
Even if you do not have symptoms, people should stay at home as much as possible, and certainly avoid any crowds.
If you have to go out, maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (preferably 2 metres) from other people and wear a face covering.
Managers of shops, businesses, faith settings and any other place where people gather should stringently adhere to all COVID-19 prevention guidance.