Coronavirus

Coronavirus Update 05.05.21

Birmingham City Council’s latest general update can be seen here. The dashboard of Covid-19 information for the week ending 30th April has not been published yet so we’ll send a more detailed update in a later newsletter. Birmingham City Council’s brief summary describes the total number of cases across the city as having dropped by 109 compared with the previous week, and having decreased in all ethnic groups and all age-groups, except the 80+ which has remained static at 2 per week.

Cases remain highest in secondary school children and we’re reminded that testing for schools and families remains vital to prevent spread of infection to older age groups.

Our full description of the rules at the current stage of lockdown easing, including details of how to get tested can be seen here, and a poster summarising the rules is here.

Testing is a quick and easy way to make sure you are keeping yourself and others safe, and all asymptomatic adults should now be testing twice per week. As well as picking tests up at local pharmacies, everyone can now order free rapid tests to their home: details are on the government website here.

 

Over-40s Eligible for Vaccine

People aged 40 and over are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, along with others including:

  • people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • informal carers (see article here)

Those who are eligible will be contacted by the NHS to book their vaccination, or you can book a vaccination, or manage an existing appointment, here. You can also schedule your vaccination by calling 119. Find out more about the vaccine here.

It’s important to have both your vaccines to have maximum protection, but it’s encouraging to see a new study by Public Health England (PHE) shows that household transmission is reduced by up to half after one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Public Health Guidance Overview 12.04.21

Monday 12th April sees us move to the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown, with the reopening of more venues no doubt a huge relief to many of us:

Social Contact

  • Outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the “Rule of 6”) or 2 households remain allowed.
  • We must still remember “Hands > Face > Space… & Fresh Air”: Wider social contact rules will apply in all the settings opening up, to prevent indoor mixing between different households. It’s vital we still practice physical distancing, wear face coverings, and wash our hands or sanitise frequently. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. If you are indoors in any setting with anyone who is NOT in your own household or support bubble remember to “let fresh air in”.
  • Spread often happens in the household but it isn’t inevitable, and germdefence.org can help.

Business and activities

This stage of the roadmap out of lockdown sees more businesses and activities allowed to open:

  • Non-essential retail is allowed as well as essential retail.
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons.
  • Public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups, and saunas and steam rooms will remain closed at this stage).
  • Outdoor sports facilities remain open along with outdoor sports.
  • Most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.
  • Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’).

Travel:

  • People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can.
  • Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted with self-contained accommodation including campsites and holiday lets allowed to reopen, though indoor facilities must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
  • International holidays are still illegal.
  • Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.

Care Homes:

  • The number of care home visitors will increase to two per resident.
  • The visitors must remain the same, will need to book with the care home, and will require negative lateral flow tests.

Children and Baby Groups:

  • All children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sports.
  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 people can restart indoors. (Children under the age of 5 will not count towards the total number of the group.)

Life Events

  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners.
  • The number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (in premises that are permitted to open).

Testing

Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing is an essential part of the easing of restrictions and now testing is being made even more convenient and easy to obtain. Getting tested is a great way to reduce your risk of spreading the virus to friends, loved ones, and the wider community, and helps track the progress of national and local virus-control measures.

If you or a member of your household has a possible or confirmed case of Covid infection, see these guidelines.

There are different ways to arrange the test depending on whether or not you have symptoms:

If you do NOT have Covid symptoms – All of us should now be starting to test twice a week; the government has announced that everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing twice a week. Testing for asymptomatic individuals is available across the city including fixed sites, mobile sites, and over 100 community pharmacies. Taking a rapid lateral flow test is a great way to reduce your risk of spreading the virus to friends, loved ones, and colleagues if working from home is not possible. If you are asymptomatic and don’t have access to the free lateral flow tests through work, school, or other community sites, you can order free at-home tests here. More information on at-home testing can be seen here.

If you DO have Covid symptoms – If you have symptoms, especially a high temperature, new continuous cough, or change to your sense of smell or taste, you should call 119, or go to the NHS website where you can book a test at one of the 12 local symptomatic testing sites across the city, or arrange a test to be delivered to your home.

Vaccines

Information on the rollout of vaccines across Birmingham can be seen in our article here, including information on avoiding vaccine scams.

Videos answering questions about the vaccines in multiple languages can be viewed here, and information and resources put together primarily by and for BAME communities can be seen here, including a section addressing concerns about the vaccines.

Under 30s may now choose an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine if they wish.

We must continue to follow the social distancing guidelines after having our vaccines, especially while the lockdown measures are gradually eased.

Wellbeing

It’s important we also look after our wellbeing, and so we encourage everyone to enjoy Moseley, including some of Birmingham’s wonderful parks, and maintain social contacts and hobbies safely.

Detailed Guidance

The government guidance can be seen here, with the full guidance here.

Celebrating Ramadan During Covid-19

We wish our Muslim community a healthy and safe Ramadan. Ramadan will once again be very different in Birmingham and across the UK. Birmingham City Council has continued to work closely with Islamic leaders of the city to support the continuation of spiritual support of our Muslim citizens as well as keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. We ask everyone celebrating to observe Ramadan safely and within national covid guidelines. A Ramadan letter from The Lord Mayor’s Office can be read here.

Clinically Vulnerable People Can Stop Shielding From 1st April

In line with the easing of lockdown restrictions, those on the shielded patient list can cease shielding and begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population from Thursday 1 April. Letters with updated guidance will be delivered to patients over the next two weeks. More details can be read here.