Younger Wulfrunians are being urged to stay vigilant in the Covid-19 pandemic, despite a slight drop in the number of new cases across the West Midlands.
In the seven days up to 31 August, the number of cases across Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull stood at 13.7 per 100,000 population – down from 13.8 the previous week.
However, the rate of new diagnoses remains above the national rate and, as the leaders of the seven councils met to discuss the regional picture this week, they highlighted an increase in cases among young people, with more than one in five cases across the region over the last fortnight coming in the 20-29 age group.
Stressing the need for continued vigilance to reduce the threat of further Covid-19 lockdowns, Councillor Ian Brookfield, the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "As we're seeing across the country, there's been an increase in coronavirus cases among 20 to 30-year-olds in Wolverhampton and the West Midlands and they now account for just over 20% of all the new cases. We have also seen an increase in cases among older teenagers.
"It's important to stress that young people are not immune to this awful virus and sadly we've seen in other countries that rising cases among young people can be the thing that brings the virus into the homes of older and more vulnerable adults. We've seen that peaks in young people are often followed several weeks later by rises in hospitalisation and deaths, so it is essential that people of all ages do their bit to contain the spread of coronavirus.
"We've all missed out on so much this year and I understand that everyone is desperate for a return to normality, but it's vitally important that we all remain vigilant - not just to keep ourselves safe, but to protect our family, friends and others.
"That means wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces and maintaining social distancing from people you do not live with or are not in your support bubble, both indoors and outside. Continue to wash your hands regularly and, if you are feeling unwell, get a free test now.”
In addition to the appeal to young people, the council leaders also stressed the continued importance of wearing face masks in supermarkets, on public transport and other settings where face coverings are now mandatory.
Councillor Brookfield added: "We hear a lot about the 'new norm' and face coverings are an absolutely vital part of the new norm if we're going to keep people safe. Unless you have a legitimate reason not to, you must wear a face covering to protect others from the spread of infection.
"And you shouldn't need to be asked or reminded by shop staff, bus drivers or anyone else. This is about each and every one of us playing our part to protect the people of Wolverhampton and the West Midlands."
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, no matter how mild, should immediately self-isolate and book a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.
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. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.