Covid update

I’ll start with the Covid situation. As I said, numbers have continued to fall, which is great news. We’re at around 134 cases per 100,000 people at the moment, which is roughly where we were at the beginning of December. Still some way to go to get to the summer 2020 levels though, so we want to push it down further. More good news is that the rate amongst over 60s is even lower at just under 100 cases per 100,000. Hopefully we’re seeing the early impacts of the vaccinations, as well as a general fall in rates in the older population.

Vaccination update

Just under 30% of the Solihull population have now had their first dose of vaccine, mainly in the 65+ age group and the clinically extremely vulnerable. Second doses have started, mainly amongst the over 80s.

For more information see – https://www.birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/

Testing update

Please continue to encourage people who need to leave their house to go to work, including essential voluntary work, to get regularly tested (every 3-5 days) at one of our local testing sites.

All appointments must be booked online: https://www.solihull.gov.uk/COVID-19/covidtesting

Please also remind your networks that during lockdown you can still leave home to get a Covid test. If you have any symptoms: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you MUST book a test as soon as possible. Call 119, visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or use the NHS COVID-19 app.

Census 2021

We were joined on the Zoom call by Fiona Saxon, who’s the community engagement lead for this year’s census. Census date is 21 March but households should have started receiving literature already. Although the census is mainly online for the first time, paper copies can be requested for those who would prefer that. Given the circumstances, some people may find it more difficult than usual to get help. Solihull Libraries is providing support and can be contacted on 0121 704 6005 or at 2021census@solihull.gov.uk. Attached is a poster/image you can use to promote the census and explain how people can get help. (A prize if you can identify the Solihull coastline that features in the picture!)

Social media messages

A few suggestions for messages you may want to share this week:

  • Covid rates continue to fall across Solihull and the West Midlands. We’re back to where we were at the beginning of December but need to keep pushing it down further so the restrictions can be relaxed. Stay at home where you can!
  • 30% of Solihull residents have now had their first dose of vaccine. It’s still important to observe the rules, even if you’ve been vaccinated.
  • Census day for 2021 is Sunday 21 March. Most people will be able to respond online but you can request a paper copy if you prefer. Solihull Libraries can be contacted for assistance: 0121 704 6005 or 2021census@solihull.gov.uk.

Suicide prevention

Sadly, we know that Covid is causing all sorts of mental health challenges. ‘Let’s talk about suicide prevention’ is a free event on 4 March to create space to discuss this very difficult topic. If you’re interested, more information and booking details are available on Eventbrite. (NB: this is more intended for Champions interested in this issue rather than for general circulation.)

Q&A with Saqib Bhatti MP

If you were on the call with Saqib a couple of weeks ago, you’ll know there were a few questions we didn’t manage to answer. Saqib sent the attached document to answer the last few questions and thanked everybody again for the work they’ve been doing as Solihull Community Champions.