Don’t let Covid-19 spook you this Halloween

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Families are reminded that Halloween celebrations will need to be a little different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.pumpkincovid

With coronavirus cases in Wolverhampton trebling over the last three weeks and the city subject to Covid-19 High Alert (Tier 2) measures which limit household contact, people are being encouraged to stay safe and, rather than Trick or Treating, start a new Halloween tradition this year.

Coronavirus can live on surfaces for hours, even days, and so families are asked not to ring doorbells or knock on other people’s doors. People are asked not to leave bowls of treats outside their houses either, as different hands in bowls could still spread the virus.

Instead, families are encouraged to decorate their houses in a spooky fashion and create and display pumpkins and Halloween-themed pictures and drawings in their windows which ‘trick or treaters’ can spot from the safety of the pavement.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We want people to enjoy Halloween as much as they can this year. Sadly, traditional trick or treating is simply not going to be possible with the measures currently in place which prevent households from mixing with one another. So instead, why not get your children to dress up and go out as a family pumpkin-spotting in your local neighbourhood, and reward them with a treat when they find what they are looking for? Alternatively, you could stay home and enjoy a spooky party with your family, watch a scary movie with a Halloween feast, hold a virtual party over video calling or bake Halloween treats – there are plenty of ways that you can still enjoy this special day without putting yourself or others at risk of Covid-19.”

Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of the Governing Body, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We don’t want to stop families enjoying Halloween this year, but we would ask that children do not take part in traditional trick and treating and instead get creative by placing Halloween pictures in their windows or going out and hunting for Halloween displays around their neighbourhood instead. If you do this, please remember to follow social distancing and the rule of six guidelines. By doing this we can all help stop the spread of coronavirus and keep our loved ones safe.”

Latest data shows there were 246.40 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 residents in Wolverhampton over the seven days to 25 October, compared to 191.03 the week before.

Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or change to a person’s sense of taste and smell. People with symptoms should immediately self-isolate and book a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. People can now get tests up to eight days after first developing symptoms.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will be asked to share information about people that have been close contacts recently.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. For full details of the local Covid-19 High Alert (tier 2) restrictions currently in place, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.

Black Country & West Birmingham CCG merger

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Governing Body members for four Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups agreed today to apply to merge their CCGs to become one.

Today, at a Governing Bodies in Common meeting for the four Black Country and West Birmingham (BCWB) Clinical Commissioning Groups – Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell & West Birmingham and Wolverhampton – members voted to proceed with a formal application to NHS England and Improvement to merge in April 2021.

Paul Maubach, Chief Executive Officer, Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs said: “I’m really pleased that we can continue to work together but in a more cohesive way and, in doing so, we can secure the best health care for our population across the Black Country and West Birmingham.”

Earlier this month, the GP Members from all four CCGs participated in an independent vote conducted by Civica Election Services. The vote followed nearly a year of engagement with GP Members, staff, stakeholders and the public exploring how the four CCGs could potentially work more efficiently and effectively across the healthcare system if they worked as one, with five clearly defined places within.

Across all four CCGs there was significant engagement in the vote, with 98% of BCWB practices voting and 90% of those who voted agreeing with the proposal to merge.

The outcome of this vote, along with the information from the stakeholder engagement, was discussed at the Governing Bodies in Common meeting to inform their decision as to whether to proceed with a merger application.

The four CCGs will now work with NHSE/I to complete their merger application in full, ready for approval to become one CCG in April 2021.

Walk-in Covid-19 tests to be available without appointment

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People with symptoms of Covid-19 in Wolverhampton will be able to get a test even if they haven't been able to book one – boosting testing capacity in the city still further.Ad van rear

From Friday 16 October the walk-in test centre at Faulkland Street, just off the Ring Road in Wolverhampton city centre, will take up to 50 people per day as ‘walk ups’ without prior appointment as part of a pilot project.

People who develop symptoms of Covid-19 should, as previously, immediately self-isolate and try to book a test online by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. However, if they cannot reserve a slot for any reason, they will be able to attend the Faulkland Street centre without prior appointment. Up to 50 tests per day will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Health chiefs in plea as Covid-19 hospitalisations rise

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With the number of hospitalisations and, tragically, deaths from coronavirus rising once more, health chiefs in Wolverhampton are urging people to adhere to the new local restrictions which came into force this morning (Wednesday 14 October). The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 is expected to increase further in the coming days – putting additional pressure on the NHS as it heads into the busy winter period.Follow Rule of 6 outside square

Now David Loughton CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, have united to call on residents to protect their friends and family by doing all they can to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Loughton CBE said: “I have been a chief executive for over 30 years, and never have I had to deal with anything like we have been experiencing since March. In March, my life, your life and the NHS changed forever, and we are still recovering from that first wave of Covid-19. My staff are tired, yet they come into work every day ensuring they deliver the best patient care. We are working hard to make sure those whose treatments were delayed are safely restored now so they can get the care they need. My plea to you is please follow the lockdown rules so that we can continue to fight against Covid-19. Help me and my teams by preventing any further increases in hospital admissions and our staff can continue to focus on their ‘day job’ – treating and caring for you and your loved ones.”

Mr Denley added: "Infection rates across the country have increased dramatically in recent weeks and sadly this is now being translated into increased hospital admissions and deaths here in Wolverhampton and elsewhere. Indeed, nationally there are now more patients in hospital with coronavirus than there were at the start of the UK-wide lockdown in March. So, the message is clear; we need to act swiftly, and we need to act now. Everyone has a role to play in the fight against Covid-19 and we've shown that, as a city, our actions can have an impact. Thanks to the efforts of residents since local restrictions were introduced last month, the infection rate in Wolverhampton remains much lower than in other parts of the country. We’ve also been working closely with the NHS and Public Health England to ensure services can continue to operate, and to tackle outbreaks in care homes, schools and other settings as soon as they occur. But there’s still more we must do – and we need everyone to take the measures which have come into effect today extremely seriously in order to protect each other and keep everyone safe. The new rules are mandatory, so please follow them."

Revised Covid-19 restrictions as city placed on High alert

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Revised restrictions are set to come into effect in Wolverhampton as part of the Government's three-tiered approach to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The city has been placed in the High alert category (tier 2) meaning that, from tomorrow (Wednesday 14 October):

  • You must not socialise with anybody outside your household or your care or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in public
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or park (other than where specific exemptions apply in law).

Get flu jab to protect you from double virus threat this winter

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People eligible for the free flu jab are being urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help protect themselves against flu.

This winter, with both flu and Covid-19 in circulation, it is even more important that people at risk from flu get vaccinated. This comes after Public Health England found the risk of death more than doubled among people who became infected with both flu and Covid-19 at the same time earlier this year.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Flu is a serious condition that kills, on average, 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more. Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from Covid-19. If you are eligible for the free vaccine, please contact your GP or pharmacy and have your jab as soon as possible."