Beware of Covid Scammers

We’ve been made aware by West Midlands Police of scammers posing as NHS Test and Trace staff.

The scam involves a phone call claiming you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
You are then asked to pay £50 for a postal testing kit.

This is a scam. Testing for Covid-19 is free – there is no charge.

Do not fall for this – please share.

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Urgent message from David Stevens, Sandwell MBC Chief Executive

Government has just announced that Sandwell, along with Birmingham and Solihull, is now an area of national intervention due to a rise in coronavirus.

From next Tuesday, 15 September, Sandwell residents will not be able to mix with any other households, indoors or outdoors – as household transmission has been identified as a key driver in the rise.

It’s going to be a tough time with still more difficult decisions down the line and I will of course keep you informed of the impact on services and any fresh demands on all of us as local authority staff.

The new restrictions in Sandwell are as follows:

• People in Sandwell must not allow others from outside their households into their home or their garden.

• People from Sandwell must not go to visit other households in their homes or gardens – inside or outside of Sandwell.

Government has not yet published full guidance– but as soon as we have more details we will pass them on.

We have been on the brink of intervention for a while now, with infection rates going up and down in parts of the borough.

The new shift in status follows further discussions with local leaders, the Health and Social Care Secretary, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and the Chief Medical Officer for England who have agreed this week’s changes to local restrictions across England.

The local ban on households mixing overrules the nationwide, six-person limit on social gatherings that will come into place on Monday (14 September).

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Feeling unwell? Get a test!

  • Sandwell, and particularly Smethwick, has a high rate of coronavirus infections. COVID-19 is a potentially fatal illness – you must do all you can to avoid infection. This includes social distancing, using face coverings and not having non-essential visitors into your home.
  • If someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms, or has tested positive, they need to isolate away from the rest of the household as much as possible. Make sure they have their own room and are separated from others as much as possible.
  • If you run a workplace, shop or pub, please ensure social distancing and hand washing. Shop customers must wear face coverings at all times. For advice, or if you have positive cases within your workforce or community organisation, contact the Public Health team
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Consultation on banning pavement parking

Parking on pavements could be banned across England under government plans to ease journeys for disabled people and parents pushing prams.

The practice is banned in London but elsewhere in the country it is only prohibited for lorries.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on three options in relation to pavement parking: extending the London-style ban nationwide, making it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking and giving councils the power to fine offenders.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/31/consultation-begins-on-banning-pavement-parking-in-england?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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Shoppers, drinkers and diners urged to avoid unsafe businesses

Shoppers and pub goers are being urged to vote with their feet and avoid businesses not following Covid-19 guidance.

Pubs that aren’t taking contact details and shops where people don’t wear masks should be avoided, Sandwell Council has warned.

And Sandwell businesses are being urged to take action to follow the Government’s measures to keep infection rates down – or risk losing customers.

Sandwell Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “People need to vote with their feet and avoid businesses that aren’t taking Covid-19 seriously.

“Our message is that if a shop, pub or restaurant isn’t keeping you safe – don’t go there. If you feel uncomfortable, go elsewhere.

“If you are in a shop where people aren’t wearing masks – leave and shop somewhere else. If you are in a pub or restaurant where people aren’t social distancing and your details haven’t been taken in case of an outbreak, go and drink or eat elsewhere.

“Any pub, shop or restaurant that isn’t following the Covid-19 rules isn’t looking after their customers’ health.

“Covid-19 is a serious illness which can be fatal and we’re still seeing too many infections in Sandwell.

“Businesses and their customers need to take this seriously. If a shop, pub, restaurant or any other business isn’t safe, then go somewhere else that is.”

Sandwell’s Director of Public Health Lisa McNally said: “This is also a message to the businesses who aren’t following the rules and allowing their premises to be unsafe.

“If you aren’t taking the health of your customers seriously, you don’t deserve their business.

“We’re telling customers not to shop in places where the majority of customers aren’t wearing masks, and to avoid pubs and restaurants that are crowded or not taking contact details.

“We hope this will encourage customers to use businesses who are operating responsibly – and to encourage those who are not to take matters seriously and implement measures to keep people safe.”

All Sandwell pubs and restaurants are being urged to:
• Record all customers’ details – so they can be contacted in case of an outbreak
• Ensure customers only socialise in groups of up to two households (including support bubbles) indoors and outdoors, or up to six people from different households when outdoors
• Encourage regular handwashing and good hygiene
• Notify the council’s public health team if two or more staff test positive for Covid-19.

“For customers, if a pub or shop isn’t looking after your health, then use your power as a consumer and take yourself – and your money – elsewhere.

All Sandwell shops must encourage customers to wear face coverings (unless they have a medical reason for being exempt) and inform the public health team if two or more staff test positive for Covid-19.

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Sandwell Towns Fund

Last year, the Government announced that 101 towns would benefit from the Towns Fund deal – including towns in Sandwell; West Bromwich, Rowley Regis and Smethwick.

We want you to get involved and have your say in the development of the Town Deal by completing a short survey.

Further information and town specific surveys can be accessed using the below link (closing date is Tuesday 25 th August 2020)

http://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200193/council/4490/sandwell_towns_fund

A key part of the Town Deal is community engagement. We want you to get involved and share your views to help shape the Town Investment Plans for your town.

Access and details of town specific surveys can be accessed using the above link – and three of the main priorities for the Programme are below –

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Help avoid a Sandwell lockdown

This is a really important announcement for everyone in Sandwell.

There are three things we’re very strongly advising people do to try to slow the spread of the virus and avoid us going into local lockdown.

We’re strongly advising Sandwell residents who are currently shielding to continue shielding for their own safety.

We’re also strongly advising you not to go inside the homes of other people.

And anyone who has symptoms must self-isolate and book a test.

All Sandwell residents in all towns are asked to follow this advice and play their part in reducing the number of Covid-19 cases.

Please help to avoid Sandwell going into lockdown by following this advice.

Do what you can to keep yourselves, your family and others safe. Thank you – please share.

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Council acts to halt Covid cases spike in Smethwick

Sandwell Council today issued an urgent warning to people to act now to combat a sharp spike in COVID 19 cases in Smethwick.

Council public health experts are working round the clock with people in the area, businesses and community venues to make sure safety guidelines are followed.

Director of Public Health Dr Lisa McNally said she had been alerted to a rise in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Smethwick area.

She said: “The numbers are changing all the time. We have seen 28 cases in the last 14 days which is significantly higher than we would expect based on previous figures and it is changing all the time so we expect it to rise again.

“A pattern is emerging showing the infection affecting higher numbers of people in a small number of properties, two, three and four people sometimes in one household – often in multi-generational households – rather than lots of single cases across a lot of households.

“I know it isn’t easy but it’s very important that if someone is infected, they isolate themselves from the rest of their household as much as they possibly can, especially from elderly people.

“This rise in cases reminds us that the virus hasn’t gone away.  We can’t afford to drop our guard. If we experience symptoms then we must self-isolate at home and get tested.  Anyone in the same household also needs to self-isolate.  Doing this saves lives.”

“We can protect ourselves and those we live with by keeping at least 1 metre apart from others.  Wearing a face covering when on public transport or when shopping also reduces the spread of the virus.

“We are not at a point where we are looking at a ‘lockdown’ situation like in Leicester. But we will keep monitoring the situation carefully and we really need everyone to follow the guidance.”

The advice is:

Do not wait 

Book a free and easy test as soon as you think you may have symptoms, such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Check NHS guidance here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/

Get a test

It is so easy to get a free test – please use the NHS 111 online service:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-an-antigen-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

Or simply dial 119

There is ‘drive through’ testing available for Sandwell as well as home testing kits.

Stay at home

If you are getting a test, you and anyone you live with must stay at home and self-isolate until you get your result and follow advice after a test.

Anyone in your support bubble must also self-isolate until you get your result.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/

Social distancing, hand washing and face coverings

Be strict in keeping your distance from people not in your household – 2 metres apart where possible.  Keep washing your hands regularly and limit contact with other people.

Stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can and wear a face covering especially if you are in an ‘indoors’ environment.

NHS Test and Trace

You will be contacted by the NHS Test & Trace service if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

You will be asked where you’ve been recently and who you’ve been in close contact with. Please help them to give good full information so they can help others.

This will help the NHS contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you.

The public needs to be alert to NHS Test and Trace and follow their advice:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/

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The tip is now open…

…but be prepared to queue

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Stay safe

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