Light up Bearwood

Light Up Bearwood and Beyond is in place of our annual Procession of Light and provides an opportunity for folks to still show solidarity with refugees from their own homes by creating a light picture in their windows. There are templates available to download at bearwoodaction.wordpress.com and photos can be shared with the hashtags #LightUpBearwoodAndBeyond or #LightUpBearwood. Donations can be made via our paypal, bearwoodactionforrefugees@gmail.com.

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A useful site…

This site enables people to zoom in on an interactive map to see what the Covid-19 figures are, right down to almost Ward level.

https://coronavirus-staging.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map?fbclid=IwAR20fJxrke1ZZU2xr1ccBwnfTknNgxinUuDfW9ac2WbN3_cMFJsvIjRprdI

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Coronavirus outbreak at Bearwood GP surgery

Sandwell Council, Public Health England (Midlands) and Sandwell & West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group have been notified of a coronavirus outbreak at Bearwood Road Surgery, Smethwick.

To date, three positive COVID-19 cases have emerged among the practice’s non-clinical staff. 

It was agreed at a meeting yesterday that there would be no access to the surgery building for 14 days to stop any further spread of the virus. 

However all patient services will continue, with no change to virtual appointments and information about alternative arrangements for face-to-face appointments available on the website: www.bearwoodroadsurgery.co.uk or by calling the surgery.

The building will reopen on 17th October following a deep clean. 

People who have had direct contact with the infected staff have been informed and given appropriate advice. The risk to patients has been assessed as low.

Dr Ian Sykes, Chair of the Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said: “We would like to assure local people that all NHS health services remain safe and open.

“The temporary closure of the Bearwood Road Surgery building is a precautionary measure and arrangements are being made to ensure services to patients continue.”

Dr Lisa McNally, Director of Public Health for Sandwell said: “It is vital that all organisations have an obligation to follow COVID-19 guidance.

“Social distancing and the prompt isolation at home of anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms remains crucial. 

Dr Paramanathan, a GP at Bearwood Road Surgery, said: “A number of our staff are self-isolating due to COVID-19 and as a result we have temporarily closed the surgery to immediately carry out a deep clean. 

“We are still taking telephone calls and will continue to operate services via telephone and video appointment. 

“Patients who require face-to-face appointments will be seen safely at another local surgery. 

“Patients who need urgent medical care, should contact us for an appointment in the usual way or if urgent please call NHS 111.

“The decision to take this step has been clinically-led, and is supported by partners across the wider health and care system.”

This comes at a time when coronavirus infection rates in Smethwick are very high and the local population is advised to be particularly careful to follow COVID-19 guidance.

Nobody should have visitors from outside their household to their home, except for essential visitors like carers.

Social gatherings should be avoided and social distancing should be maintained at all times.

Face coverings must be worn in shops and on public transport.

Anyone experiencing a cough, fever or change in taste or smell should self-isolate at home immediately and book a test. 

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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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