COVENTRY and other West Midlands councils are re-emphasising the need to step forward and get tested to prevent further Covid-19 lockdowns – with a rise in cases nationally.
And businesses are being warned against silence if suspected cases in the workplace arise.
As large parts of northern England are facing new local lockdown rules, council leaders and public health bosses here say widespread testing is now more important than ever.
Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils are urging people who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive to get tested.
The seven local authorities also reiterated the importance of businesses contacting Public Health England as a case is identified – either confirmed or suspected – in a staff or customer.
Councillor George Duggins, Coventry council leader, said: “As we’ve seen with Leicester and now the north of England, this pandemic is far from over and there’s no room for complacency.
“Testing is absolutely essential if we’re going to limit the spread of the virus across the West Midlands and save lives and every single one of us can play a part.
“Rates of testing have dropped over the last week in the West Midlands and it is essential that anyone with symptoms, however mild, rings 119 or goes on the NHS website to book a test.”
Liz Gaulton, director of Public Health at Coventry City Council, added: “We are working with the Department of Health to expand the number of testing sites across the region and increase opportunities for walk-through testing as well.
“Workplaces may become sources of outbreaks and spread in the future but if public health are contacted quickly when managers find out about the first suspected or confirmed case then the right advice can be given and we can control things quickly.
“In most cases this also means the business doesn’t need to close and things can be controlled. Staying silent means the virus spreads, putting staff and customers at risk, and where businesses haven’t stepped up and reached out for help quickly there have been outbreaks that have grown and impacted on the wider community.”
Advice to people:
• If you develop symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus.
• If you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate.
• If you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so.
• Tests are now available to all adults and most children with a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss of smell or taste.
• Tests are free, results are issued within 48 hours and NHS contact tracing is a confidential service.
• You can apply for a swab test for yourself, or for anyone in your household, if you or they have symptoms
• You can travel to a drive-through testing site, visit a mobile testing unit or get a home testing kit delivered.
Advice to businesses:
• Contact Public Health England as soon as a case is identified – either confirmed or suspected – in a staff or customer.
• This should be reported to Public Health England as soon as possible by ringing 0344 225 3560 and pressing 0 then option 2.
• Reporting a suspected or confirmed case as a business as soon as possible means that Public Health can support your firm to contain and avoid spread.