The City of Wolverhampton Council, the NHS in Wolverhampton and Public Health England are working together to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to keep residents up to date with key national guidance and local information.

This is a live site, with information being added all the time, so please check back regularly.

Latest statements from the council
Friday March 27, 2020

Follow measures and together we will beat coronavirus

Residents and businesses in Wolverhampton have been thanked for adhering to the Government's 'lockdown' measures to tackle coronavirus.

The measures include people staying at home except for very limited purposes, the closure of non-essential shops and community spaces and preventing gatherings of more than two people in public, except for members of the same household.

These measures should be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for people or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "These are challenging times for our city. Families have sadly lost loved ones before time and I want to send them my deepest condolences and sympathies. Other families are experiencing isolation – grandparents unable to be with their grand-kids – it’s hard but it’s absolutely the right thing to do if we are going to protect our most vulnerable and our loved ones.

"But while these are difficult times, I know our city will get through them. And that’s where we need your help – by staying at home and keeping in touch with family and friends by videocall and phones, rather than face-to-face."

John Denley, Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health, said: "When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of the infection, and that is why we all need to follow the Government's social distancing measures.

"It's heartening to see that so many individuals, families and businesses are complying with the guidance to the letter, and I thank every one of them for the sacrifices they are making at this difficult time.

"However, it is vitally important that everybody – and that means all of us – follow these measures if they are to be effective.

“It's estimated that, if someone with coronavirus carries on as before, with no restrictions on social contact, they will infect two or three people within five days - and after 30 days, over 400 more people would be infected.

"That's why social distancing is so important, and why following the rules will keep people safe and save lives."

People should only leave the house:

  • To shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • For one form of exercise a day, for instance a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • For any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • To travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home, or to take children to and from school if parents are classed as 'critical workers'.

The Government has ordered non-essential businesses and public spaces to be closed, including pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, non-essential shops, markets (excluding food markets), libraries, community centres and youth centres, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, communal places within parks (such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms), places of worship, hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan parks.

The Government has banned all public gatherings of more than two people, except where they are from the same household or where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies, have been stopped. Funerals continue, but can only be attended by immediate family members.

Mr Denley added: “We are only a few days into these measures, and we appreciate how hard the coming period is going to be for everyone in Wolverhampton, particularly for our most vulnerable residents.

“With our partners, we will protect as many people as we can from coronavirus, and support those who need us most.

“Our city will beat this – but we’ve got to pull together. Ultimately, the single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives."

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS.

Friday March 27, 2020

Do your bit to help reduce pressure on local pharmacies

Residents are being asked to help reduce pressure on local pharmacies over the coming weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic is placing a big demand on community pharmacy teams across the city, with local pharmacies working incredibly hard to safely supply the vital medications people need while making sure they support social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of the disease.

They have placed limits on how many people can be in-store at any one time and are asking customers to stand two metres apart when in-store and whilst queuing. Please be patient and cooperate with this requirement which is for both staff and customer safety.

Please do not stockpile medicines or other goods; only buy the medicines you need now for you and your family. This will ensure there are enough medicines for the whole community.

Please do not contact your pharmacy or GP surgery to order your regular medication before it is due. You should order it when you have seven to 10 days of medication left.

If you have repeat prescriptions and are self-isolating, ask a friend, neighbour or relative to pick up your medicines for you. They can drop them off outside your door so that you can avoid face-to-face contact. And if you are collecting medication on behalf of a vulnerable person, please check with the pharmacy that it is ready to collect before visiting.

Remember, if you have symptoms of coronavirus - a new continuous cough or a high temperature - please do not visit the pharmacy. Instead, stay home and follow NHS advice on self-isolation.

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Everyone in this city has a key role to play in the fight against coronavirus, including the hard-working members of our community pharmacy teams. Not surprisingly, they are feeling the pressure at the moment, but by following this guidance we can all help reduce demand on them at this key time.

“People should also be aware that some pharmacies will close for an extended period of time over the coming weeks. This is to enable them to replenish stocks, dispense prescriptions and clean surfaces appropriately. It is therefore advised that people check opening hours before visiting – and of course only visit if absolutely essential.”

Dr Tim Horsbourgh, Local Medical Committee Secretary, said: “We are asking that our patients allow time for prescriptions to be processed by local practices. Please order when you have around a week left and where possible please use the online ordering services as the phone lines in practices can be busier than normal at the moment.”

Stephen Noble, Local Pharmacy Committee Representative, added: “Our local pharmacies are well prepared to respond but we need you to help us to help you. Please carry on as normal in terms of ordering the right medicines, in the right amount and at the right time. If everyone follows this simple advice it will ease the pressure on the pharmacy system and ensure that everyone can get the medicines they need, when they need it.”

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS.

Friday March 27, 2020

Council to Feed City’s Most Vulnerable in Coronavirus Emergency

City of Wolverhampton Council will start delivering food parcels to its most vulnerable residents from early next week. 

The council is stepping in to assist those classed as being most at risk from coronavirus and have no other support network to help them.

It will also support those who are in the greatest need beyond the relatively small highest risk group who will receive a Government letter and food offer.

The council has its own database, created with the help of GPs, of around 35,000 residents who are also classed as vulnerable during the current crisis due to age or pre-existing health conditions. It has written to them advising them how to get help.

City of Wolverhampton Council is believed to be one of the first in the country in a position to start providing vital supplies at scale to people in need who are following national guidance to self-isolate and stranded at home.

The council has developed its own local scheme to provide immediate assistance to vulnerable people. It has already taken delivery of items sourced from a private sector supplier and is also awaiting a delivery of items promised by Central Government.

The council has converted its WV Active Aldersley leisure centre into a food distribution hub in just a few days. The 26000 sq ft sports hall will be used to store and sort the food and an 8,000 sq ft marquee has been built outside. A fleet of 40 delivery vans will also operate out of the centre.

Hundreds of council staff are being redeployed to run the hub 24/7 and deliver the supplies. The hub will have the capacity to deliver 30,000 parcels a week if required.

Free parcels containing basics like bread, pasta, cereal, tinned fruit, long-life milk and toilet roll will be delivered to the doors of those most in need.

People will also receive a special newspaper containing information, advice, guidance and ideas to help people stay safe.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “There is no time to lose, we have moved quickly so that we can start delivering food to people who have no other support network from next week.

“We know there are people out there who have no friends or family to call upon and are feeling scared right now because they can’t go out and the cupboards are running out of food. We are here for those people.

“And of course, if we can help as many vulnerable people as possible stay safe at home, we are helping them to protect themselves – and their loved ones – and also supporting our fantastic NHS colleagues who are in the frontline of the fight against this virus.”

“As a council, working with our NHS colleagues, we have written out to thousands of our vulnerable residents and have provided details of how to contact us if they need help.  

“That might not be a food parcel, they can also call us if they need someone to go to the shop for them or just someone to give them a ring and check if they are ok.

“City of Wolverhampton Council will do what it takes for those who need us during this national emergency.”

Friday March 27, 2020

Support for self-employed due to coronavirus outbreak

The government announced yesterday (Thursday 26 March) evening a Self Employment Income Support Scheme to help people through this difficult time.

Information on the scheme and how it will be administered by HMRC can be found at Business Support. There is also an FAQs section to refer to at Self-employment Income Support Scheme FAQs

Councillor Harman Banger, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “I am delighted the government has taken these steps to help protect the self employed during these difficult times.

“I would urge anyone in Wolverhampton who is self employed to look at the online guidance and ensure they have everything in order to meet the criteria.

“As a council, we are also continuing to work with regional partners to provide targeted advice and guidance or sign post businesses to the best source of help.”

For all the latest government business support measures visit COVID-19: support for businesses.  

The council has also outlined where to seek local and regional help.

The council’s Business Rates Team is taking the following steps in relation to the recovery of business rates:

  • suspending court action for recovery of business rates after 19 March
  • issuing reminder notices to encourage contact from businesses, so that we can understand their individual situation
  • suspending the issue of new cases for enforcement agent action
  • negotiating repayments where possible and/or agree to a hold in recovery action for a period where businesses are struggling

For any businesses/tenants that rent property from the council and wish to discuss their position, please contact the Estates Team, Corporate Landlord, by emailing property.enquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk and options will be discussed.

The Black Country Growth Hub has information on local business support programmes and business advice. 

The Federation of Small Business has information for small independent traders.

Access to Business helps new businesses or if you are in the process of setting up in business. 

The Black Country Chamber have online advice and a business helpline (01902 912322).

If you would like to speak to a member of the council’s Enterprise Team, please call Jay Patel (07584 491216) or Jeff Marlow (07392 137481)

As an alternative you can leave your contact details and a short summary about your business via the email at Business.development@wolverhampton.gov.uk and you will receive a response from the team the same day.

Thursday 26 March, 2020

Flu Fighters nurse returns with coronavirus advice for children

Our very own Flu Fighters nurse has returned to share some top tips with children to help them play their part in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Here's the first one, showing kids how they can become Top Handwashing Boffins. Please share the nurse's advice with your children, and why not print out a special certificate to give to them, which they can also colour in. 

Keep an eye out for more top advice from the Flu Fighters nurse in the coming days.

Thursday 26 March, 2020

Council informs businesses how to confirm grants eligibility

City of Wolverhampton Council will start sending letters and emails from tomorrow (Friday) to the thousands of city businesses eligible to receive grants from the Government's Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

The communication will provide guidance about how to go online to provide information so that the following grants can be paid:

  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, and have a rateable value of £15,000 or less; or
  • grant funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value of £15,000 or below; or
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,999

The grant funding is expected to be with the council on April 1, 2020, at which point claims can start being paid.

Councillor Harman Banger, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Our small and medium businesses are critical to our local economy and we appreciate what a hugely challenging time this is for them.

“We are doing everything in our power to make the process of accessing these vital grants as smooth as possible and I would urge businesses to pay close to attention to the detail in the letter/email.

“We have staff on hand to support with any help and advice businesses may need in completing their online applications.”

A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England has also been announced by the Government.

Businesses who have been identified as potential recipients of the additional business rate relief measures will be excluded from the direct debit payment request for April 1, 2020.

The council’s Business Rates Team is also taking the following steps in relation to the recovery of business rates:

  • Suspending court action for recovery of business rates after March 19
  • Issuing reminder notices to encourage contact from businesses, so that we can understand their individual situation
  • Suspending the issue of new cases for enforcement agent action
  • Negotiating repayments where possible and/or agree to a hold in recovery action for a period where businesses are struggling
Thursday 26 March, 2020

Guidance on rent payments for council housing tenants

City of Wolverhampton Council has announced measures designed to support council home tenants who may struggle to pay their rent during the coronavirus outbreak.

The council has implemented the following measures to provide reassurance and offer flexibility to struggling households:

  • Council tenants facing difficulty, for whatever reason, need to contact their managing agent (Wolverhampton Homes or their Tenant Management Organisation), who will look at each situation on an individual basis and provide advice, guidance and potentially a revised repayment plan
  • There will be no enforcement action against arrears or evictions during this difficult time
  • If you are able to pay your rent you MUST continue to do so. Missed rent payments will need to be paid at a later date

Councillor Louise Miles, City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “These are unprecedented times and we know people are worried about how they will pay the bills if their income drops. We wanted to make it clear that the council stands ready to support people through the uncertainty.

“People will still need to pay their rent in full, but this announcement is about providing flexibility if you need it and identifying financial advice you may need.

“We want people to contact us if they face difficulty paying so that we can talk through their individual circumstances, so please work with us to let us help you.”

Contacts details for Managing Agents are:

Wolverhampton Homes - 01902 556789

Bushbury Hill EMB - 01902 552994

New Park Village - 01902 552670

Dovecotes TMO - 01902 552780

Springfield Horseshoe Housing Co-op - 01902 552872

For more information on City of Wolverhampton Council’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and what to do if you need support, visit wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus

Thursday 26 March, 2020

City leaders write to vulnerable residents about coronavirus

Thousands of letters are being sent out to vulnerable people who are registered with a Wolverhampton GP to provide them with essential advice and guidance to help them stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning group is writing to everyone aged 70 and over in the city, and to under 70s who are living with a long term condition.

Thousands of letters are being posted and will be landing on doormats over the coming week.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "Supporting the most vulnerable in our city is an absolute priority for the council and health services. That’s why we are writing to those who are most at risk of coronavirus to complement the work taking place nationally to raise awareness of what we all need to be doing at this time.”

Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health John Denley said: "We are writing to tens of thousands of people who we believe are at a higher risk of getting very ill, and therefore needing hospital care, if they get coronavirus – either because of their age and because of underlying health conditions.

"The letters provide a wide range of information, including the latest Government guidance around social distancing, as well as advice about keeping happy, healthy and connected while people are staying at home.

"Importantly, there is also information about what vulnerable people should do if carers or family members who usually support them are unable to do so, including about the support available from local voluntary services to get essential food, shopping and medication, run urgent medication or to maintain social contact with others.”

Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that many vulnerable people are very worried about what the next few weeks will bring, and how they are going to cope when they have to stay at home for a prolonged period.

“We hope these letters will provide reassurance, and complement any national guidance or information which may be provided in the coming weeks.”

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus at nhs.uk/coronavirus. For further information and guidance, please also visit the council’s own coronavirus pages

The council has also launched a new Stay Safe, Be Kind social campaign offering 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 wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.

Tuesday 24 March, 2020

New stay at home measures to tackle coronavirus spread

New measures to compel people to stay away from others to help reduce the spread of coronavirus were announced by the Government last night (Monday 23 March).

They include requiring people to stay at home except for very limited purposes, the closure of non-essential shops and community spaces and stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public, except for members of the same household.

Residents must comply with these new measures, and the authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. The measures will be reviewed in three weeks' time.

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection, and that is why the Government is now introducing these new social distancing measures.

“They should be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

"These new measures will come as a shock to some but, looking at what has happened elsewhere in the world, it is something that most of us will have been expecting.

“The advice is strong and clear and will dramatically reduce our day to day contact with other people, which in turn will play a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus."

People should only leave the house:

  • To shop for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • For one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • For any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • To travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home.

When leaving the house, you should ensure you are two metres apart from anyone, other than members of your own household. If you are a 'critical worker', or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.

The Government has also ordered non-essential shops and public spaces to be closed.

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close. It has now extended this requirement to cover all non-essential retail stores (include clothing and electronics stores and hair, beauty and nail salons), markets (excluding food markets), libraries, community centres and youth centres, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities (such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities), communal places within parks (such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms), places of worship, hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan parks.

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people. The only exceptions to this are where the gathering is of a group of people from the same household, or where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. Funerals can continue, but can only be attended by immediate family members.

Mr Denley added: “The challenge, not just in England but around the world, is that some members of society haven't been able to follow advice around social distancing without stricter measures being put in place. Sometimes to really get issues like coronavirus controlled, you have to go a little further in terms of the approach, and that's where we are now."

The updated guidance is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. For further information and guidance, please also visit the council’s own coronavirus pages

Monday 23 March, 2020

City of Wolverhampton Council statement: Update on city parks

In light of the Prime Minister’s statement tonight, we have reviewed our decision to close the city’s parks. They will re-open tomorrow (24/03/20).

Parks will be under constant review, and the following restrictions will be in place:

  • Children’s play areas will be closed
  • No gatherings of more than two people will be allowed
  • Visitors must follow the government’s guidance on social distancing

We will be monitoring the parks closely. If visitors ignore these restrictions, the council will be left with no alternative but to close them.

 

Monday 23 March, 2020

Follow social distancing to halt spread of coronavirus

People in Wolverhampton are being told they must urgently adopt social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus among the local population.

If you are well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition, you should limit your social contact as much as possible, including using less public transport, staying two metres away from other people, working at home if you can and not arranging play dates for your children. The Government has already ordered various social settings, including pubs, restaurants, cafes, theatres and bars, to shut to prevent close contact with people.

If you are aged 70 and over, are younger but have an underlying health condition, or you are pregnant, you need to be particularly stringent in following the social distancing measures and significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family as much as possible.

Further guidance was released over the weekend around measures to ‘shield’ the estimated 1.5m people in the UK, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They are in the process of being written to and will be strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day they receive their letter.

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "I cannot stress enough how important it is that every one of us does what we are being asked to in order to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

“We know that there is widespread community transmission taking place and that, sadly, when people are coming into hospital, they are very poorly.

"Yet there has been plenty of coverage in the media over the weekend of people blatantly ignoring the social distancing measures laid down by the Government, with people out and about in groups large and small, and queueing next to one another in places like supermarkets.

"The rising infection and death rates nationally and internationally show just how dangerous coronavirus can be and so it is vital that all of us follow the latest government guidance around social distancing, and that we keep up to date with these measures as they evolve over the coming days and weeks.

"Washing your hands with soap and water more often, for at least 20 seconds, is still the best way that you can protect yourself and others. Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow, not into your hand. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards."

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

The council has also launched a new Stay Safe, Be Kind social campaign offering clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time.

Mr Denley added: "Clearly, the next few weeks are going to be incredibly difficult for everyone as we limit social interaction to protect our families and other people – but it is vitally important that we all follow this guidance so that we can all do our bit to help prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus.

"The Prime Minister made it very clear yesterday that, if we don't all start doing this, the restrictions may have to be made even tighter."

Monday 23 March, 2020

Update on coronavirus employer and business support

 

City of Wolverhampton Council has provided further guidance to employers and businesses on how to access the support options available to them during the coronavirus outbreak.

The detail of the Government’s additional economic measures was confirmed over the weekend and the council is acting swiftly to help administer them.

Information on business rates, business grants, labour costs and welfare, business loans and deferring tax liabilities can be found in the employer and business section below.

These are the latest government measures, with full details on each, available at http://bit.ly/2IUD02v:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank (eligibility details and how to apply: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/)
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Councillor Harman Banger, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The fast-moving changes necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus is making it a hugely challenging time for all employers and businesses.

“We are continuing to work closely with regional partners to provide targeted advice and guidance or sign-post businesses to the best sources of help.

“One of our key priorities is working with central government to ensure the additional economic measures it has put in place are administered as swiftly as possible to maximise the benefit to employers and businesses.”

The council’s Business Rates Team is taking the following steps in relation to the recovery of business rates:

  • Suspending court action for recovery of business rates after March 19
  • Issuing reminder notices to encourage contact from businesses, so that we can understand their individual situation
  • Suspending the issue of new cases for enforcement agent action
  • Negotiating repayments where possible and/or agree to a hold in recovery action for a period where businesses are struggling

For any businesses/tenants that rent property from the council and wish to discuss their position, please contact the Estates Team, Corporate Landlord, by emailing property.enquiries@wolverhampton.gov.uk and options will be discussed.

The Black Country Growth Hub has information on local business support programmes and business advice: https://bcgrowthhub.com/coronavirus-covid19

The Federation of Small Business has information for small independent traders: https://www.fsb.org.uk/

Access to Business helps new businesses or if you are in the process of setting up in business: https://access2business.co.uk

The Black Country Chamber have online advice and a business helpline (01902 912322): https://www.blackcountrychamber.co.uk/campaigns-projects/covid19-business-support/

If you would like to speak to a member of the council’s Enterprise Team, please call Jay Patel (07584 491216) or Jeff Marlow (07392 137481). 

As an alternative you can leave your contact details and a short summary about your business via the email at Business.development@wolverhampton.gov.uk and you will receive a response from the team the same day.

Friday 20 March, 2020

Residents urged: Step up actions to halt spread of coronavirus

People in Wolverhampton are being urged to do all they can to help stop the spread of coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases nationally and locally continues to rise.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is now routinely testing people who display respiratory illness symptoms for coronavirus and, as is the case nationally, a large proportion of these tests are negative.

In addition, a number of patients have been discharged from hospital in Wolverhampton and are safely isolating at home.

The NHS and the City of Wolverhampton Council will be writing to all vulnerable residents providing important guidance to those most at risk.

A significant number of council buildings have been closed to the public, while the council is writing to faith leaders in the city to encourage them to close places of worship.

The council has also launched a new Stay Safe, Be Kind social campaign offering 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.

However, with more cases expected in the coming days, local residents are being urged to follow the advice of health professionals and adhere to the measures announced by the Government to help minimise the spread of coronavirus further.

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "It is important that people should not be unduly worried by the increase in the number of coronavirus cases which are being confirmed nationally and locally - but it is equally important that we now all take steps to help prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

"In particular, this means following the social distancing measures announced by the Government earlier this week.

"If you are well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition, you are advised to limit your social contact as much as possible, including using less public transport, working at home if you can and not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.

"If you are aged 70 and over, are younger but have an underlying health condition, or you are pregnant, you need to be particularly stringent in following the social distancing measures, and to also significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family as much as possible.

"Washing your hands with soap and water more often, for at least 20 seconds, is still the best way that you can protect yourself and others. Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow, not into your hand. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.

"Clearly, the next few weeks are going to be incredibly difficult for everyone as we reduce our social interaction to protect our families and other people – but it is vitally important that we all follow this guidance so that we can all do our bit to help prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus."

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. For further information and guidance, please also visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Friday 20 March, 2020

Schools close to most pupils in coronavirus measure

Parents and carers are being urged to do all they can to help their children continue to learn as the city's schools prepare to close to most pupils for an indefinite period from today (Friday 20 March, 2020).

The Department of Education announced earlier this week that schools and nurseries in England would be required to close to the majority of pupils as part of measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

However, most city schools will remain open to the children of 'critical workers', such as NHS staff, police and delivery drivers, and for vulnerable children and those with the most complex special educational needs, to ensure that essential services can continue to function.

A list of ‘critical workers’ whose children may need to continue to attend school was published by the Government last night and schools are in the process of identifying which children this applies to.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "While the measures announced by the Government this week are clearly necessary, it is going to put a great deal of additional pressure on families.

"We estimate that around 10% of children in Wolverhampton will continue to attend school in the coming weeks, and we will support local schools to continue to deliver this provision.

“It’s important to stress that children should only attend school if they absolutely need to – that is, if their parents are critical workers who need to be involved in the national effort around coronavirus, or if the children themselves are going to be safer in, rather than out of, school.

“For the families of the 90% or so of children who will not be attending school for the foreseeable future, we appreciate the closures will present significant issues, particularly for working parents and around matters such as childcare.

"The advice is to not ask grandparents who are aged 70 or over to help out with childcare, because of their particular vulnerability to the virus, and so many parents will have little choice but to take time off work or work more flexible or reduced hours in order to look after their children at home.

“I would urge anyone in this situation to speak to their employer as a matter of urgency to discuss what options or support may be available to enable them to do this.

"Parents will be keen to do all they can to ensure their children can continue to learn while their school is closed, and I know that teachers at our city's schools have been incredibly busy developing homework packs and providing families with links to online resources which can help parents to home educate.”

As well as materials provided by individual schools, there's a wide range of resources available online, and many e-learning platforms are offering their resources free of charge while schools are closed. The BBC is also developing resources to keep children stimulated over the coming weeks.

It's also important that parents do all they can to keep their children active while home learning. Like everyone else, they are subject the social distancing measures which have been announced by the Government, meaning many activities will have to be home-based. However, they can still get fresh air and exercise at places like the local park, as long as they take extra care.

The Government has said that low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers or meals at home, even if they are no longer attending school due to coronavirus.

The Government has advised that it will not be going ahead with primary school assessments or secondary examinations this summer, or publishing performance tables. It is also working with schools and the regulator Ofqual to ensure children get the qualifications they need.

Councillor Hardacre added: "These are extraordinary times and they require an extraordinary response – and I would like to place on record my thanks, and that of the council, to our city’s children, families, school leaders, teachers and everyone working in the education sector for their incredible efforts so far, and in the coming days and weeks."

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.  For further information and advice, please also visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Friday 20 March, 2020

Help city “Stay Safe, Be Kind” during coronavirus outbreak

People in Wolverhampton are being encouraged to "Stay Safe, Be Kind" during the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Wolverhampton Council has worked with key city partners to launch a new campaign offering clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time.

A dedicated Stay Safe, Be Kind website - www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind - has been launched and already has a range of advice and guidance for older people who need to self-isolate as a result of the Government's social distancing guidance announced on Monday evening.

There is also information for people who want to - and are able to - volunteer their time and energy to support others. As part of a coordinated, city-wide approach Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council will collect information about potential volunteers and match their skills to those that need it, ensuring that the most vulnerable people receive appropriate help and support, and that both volunteer and recipient are safeguarded.

The campaign outlines what people can to do "Stay Safe", with advice about the steps people can take to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, what to do if they feel unwell, preparing for a long period at home and keeping themselves safe at home.

To "Be Kind", there are tips about taking care of one's own mental health, connecting and reaching out to neighbours, supporting vulnerable or isolated people, making the most of local online groups and tips about sharing accurate information and advice.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We all have a role to play in supporting fellow members of our community wherever we can, but even more some at difficult times such as these.

"Wolverhampton is a caring and resilient city, and we know that people will already be helping their friends and neighbours through this period. The information available through the Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign will help them do this as safely as possible and in a coordinated way.

"People might think that doing something small isn't really going to make a difference - but for the people they help, that couldn't be further from the truth. To them, it really matters."

Councillor Linda Leach, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Understandably, many people will be feeling anxious or lonely at this time, but by working together across the city in this way we are able to bring about powerful positive action that is helpful for all of us.

"While many older people and other vulnerable groups in the city will have trusted friends and family to help them, we know some will not.

"It is for this reason that alongside this advice and guidance, which is helpful to everyone, we are also working in partnership with our health and community partners to develop a package of support for the most vulnerable residents in our city which will be targeted at those most in need.
“While it’s important that we do all we can right now to support others during the coronavirus pandemic, we hope the messages of Stay Safe, Be Kind will continue to resonate with people when things get back to normal, which we obviously hope will happen sooner rather than later.”

For more information, please visit the Stay Safe, Be Kind website, www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.

Over the coming days more resources will be added to the webpage as they become available. The content online will be continually reviewed and updated to ensure members of the community have a trusted resource to draw on, particularly as increasing numbers of people in the city are required to self-isolated or become more dependent on others for help.

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.  For further information and advice, please also visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Friday, 20 March, 2020

City of Wolverhampton Council Announces Council Tax Help and Support During Coronavirus Outbreak

City of Wolverhampton Council has announced a series of measures designed to support residents who may struggle to pay their council tax during the coronavirus outbreak. 

As of today, the council has implemented the following measures to provide reassurance and offer flexibility to struggling households: 

  • A suspension of court action for recovery of council tax.
  • A commitment to negotiate repayment plans with customers and/or suspend enforcement action where necessary.

Councillor Louise Miles, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “These are unprecedented times and we know people are worried about how they will pay the bills if their income drops. We wanted to make it clear that the council stands ready to support people through the uncertainty.

“People will still need to pay their council tax bills in full, but this announcement is about providing flexibility if you need it and identifying financial advice you may need.

“We want people to contact us if they face difficulty paying so that we can talk through their individual circumstances, so please work with us to let us help you.” 

Meanwhile, anyone struggling to pay their bills are encouraged to see if they might be eligible for either council tax support or a discretionary housing payment. 

Council tax support can help towards the cost of your council tax if you are on a low income. More information is available from www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/ctsupport  

A discretionary housing payment is a financial award, paid at the discretion of the council, to help people who are unable to pay their rent. To be eligible for a payment, you must receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. More information on the discretionary housing payment is available from www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/dhp

People are also encouraged to check whether they are entitled to a discount or exemption on their council tax – for example single households, care providers and full time students. For more information please visit: https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/council-tax/how-can-i-reduce-my-bill

Anyone wishing to contact the council to discuss their circumstances around the payment of council tax should call 01902 551166 or e-mail council.tax@wolverhampton.gov.uk

For more information on City of Wolverhampton Council’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and what to do if you need support, visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Thursday March 19, 2020

Coronavirus: Closure of some council buildings and cancellation of public events in Wolverhampton

City of Wolverhampton Council has announced plans to close some buildings and to cancel council-run events as a public safety precautionary measure.

Council buildings and visitor attractions, including all public libraries and community hubs, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Bantock House, Archives and Bilston Craft Gallery will be closed to the public from tonight (Thursday 19 March) until further notice.

WV Active leisure centres, the Slade Rooms and Bilston Town Hall, will also close to ensure the health and safety of visitors and frontline staff.

Public events taking place in the City of Wolverhampton over the coming months will be cancelled or postponed until further notice.

This means all events and organised activities in Wolverhampton’s parks, libraries and cultural venues will not be going ahead as planned. It also includes events organised by the City Council and all events organised by external partners.

Local parks and all Wolverhampton markets – which provide essential food and supplies for local residents - currently remain open to the public.

The announcement is in line with government advice on non-essential social contact or travel around the UK in response to dealing with the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “These are unprecedented times and they call for unprecedented measures. Our absolute priority has got to be to protect this city and our residents from the harm of Covid-19.

“We are closely following the national public health advice whilst working hard to deliver some services differently. We will strive, as far as possible, to limit the impact on our residents – especially the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Our library service will be increasing access to eBooks and eAudiobooks and library staff are producing online activity sheets and online story-times to help keep adults and children occupied. We are also exploring mobile library deliveries and online reader groups.

“I recognise this is a challenging and worrying time for everyone and I want to reassure residents that we will continue to monitor the situation and take the necessary steps - in line with government guidance - to keep everyone safe in our city.”

The following services are affected by this announcement:

Cultural and other venues: Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Bantock House, City Archives, Bilston Craft Gallery, the Slade Rooms and Bilston Town Hall will be closed to the public until further notice.

Libraries: All city Libraries and Community Centres are closed until further notice: Ashmore Park Library, Bilston Library, Blakenhall Library, Collingwood Library, East Park Library, Finchfield Library, Long Knowle Library, Low Hill Library, Pendeford Library, Penn Library, Spring Vale Library, Tettenhall Library, Warstones Library, Wednesfield Library Whitmore Reans Library, Wolverhampton Central Library.

Public events: All public events are cancelled with immediate effect until further notice.

WV Active: WV Active centres - Aldersley, Bilston-Bert Williams and Central will be fully closed from March 20 until further notice. All events due to take place have been postponed and home workouts will be available for members via the WV Active website. All members have been informed of these recent changes and direct debit payments have been frozen.

Parks: Our parks will remain open as usual and we encourage residents to make use of them during this time. However, park events are cancelled until further notice.

Markets: Our markets will remain open and a robust cleaning regime will remain a priority. However, all market events and themed markets are postponed or cancelled until further notice.

Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremonies: All marriage and civil partnership ceremonies at council-owned venues are postponed until further notice with no cost for rebooking or cancelling. Venues include: The City Suite, Bantock House, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, The Archives. No further bookings will be taken during this period

Citizenship ceremonies: Current advice is that these will take place as normal but as private events

Mayoral events All mayoral events and engagements are cancelled with immediate effect until further notice.

For more information on City of Wolverhampton Council’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and what to do if you need support, visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

For the latest NHS and Government advice, visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Tuesday 17 March, 2020

Residents urged to heed latest coronavirus guidance

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, is urging all residents to understand and act upon the latest Government guidance designed to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The new guidance, requiring people to stay at home for 14 days if anyone in their household has symptoms of coronavirus (also known as Covid-19), along with a number of 'social distancing measures' to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of the disease, were announced by the Government last night.

Mr Denley said: "We all have a part to play in preventing and slowing the spread of this virus.

"The most important thing people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones remains washing their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands.

"But there is now much more we can – and must – do to help us through what will be a difficult few weeks and months."

The new guidance states that individuals will still be asked to self-isolate for seven days from the point they first display symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) – but that all individuals in the household will now be asked to self-isolate for 14 days from that moment as well.

If other members of the household develop similar symptoms, however mild, at any time during the 14 days, they must not leave the home for seven days from when their symptoms started.

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay during these 14 days if possible.

Mr Denley said: "The Government has taken these measures as it is likely that people living with others will infect each other, or be infected already.

"Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community."

People do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If their symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, they should contact NHS 111 online. If they have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The Government also last night set out a number of social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of coronavirus.

Those who remain well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition are advised to limit their social contact where possible, including using less public transport, working at home and considering not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.

Those who are over 70, are younger but have an underlying health condition or are pregnant are asked to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.

The Government says this advice is likely to be in place for some weeks. For full details of the new measures, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Mr Denley said: "Clearly, the coming weeks and months are going to be difficult for everyone – and particularly for all those individuals and families who will be required to reduce social interaction to protect themselves and others – but it is vitally important that we all follow this guidance so that we can all help prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus.”

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. For further information and advice, please also visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Friday 13 March, 2020

Four further COVID-19 cases confirmed in Wolverhampton

Four further cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wolverhampton today (Friday 13 March, 2020).

It brings the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – in the city to nine.

Sue Ibbotson, Centre Director, Public Health England West Midlands, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19, four of whom are in Wolverhampton.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

New guidance announced by the Government last night requires anyone who has symptoms of a coronavirus infection – a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) – to stay at home for seven days from the point that their symptoms first started.

This will help protect others in the community whilst the individual is infectious. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The updated government advice is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

John Denley, Director of Public Health for the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “I’d like to reassure people that we are working with health partners at a regional and national level to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Wolverhampton are protected.

“It's really important that everyone follows the latest guidance announced last night about staying at home if you show even the slightest symptoms of coronavirus. For most people who get coronavirus, it will be a mild infection, but we all have a role to play in protecting the most vulnerable people in society.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time and, if you cough, to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.”

Friday 13 March, 2020

Residents urged: Stay home if you have symptoms of virus

People in Wolverhampton are being asked to stay at home if they show symptoms of coronavirus, however mild.

New guidance announced by the Government last night requires anyone who has symptoms of a coronavirus infection – a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) – to stay at home for seven days from the point that their symptoms first started.

This will help protect others in the community whilst the individual is infectious. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The updated government advice is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "The Government has announced that the UK has moved into the delay phase, which is where we need to do everything we can to delay the spread of coronavirus as much as possible.

"It's really important that everyone follows the latest guidance announced last night about staying at home if they show even the slightest symptoms of coronavirus. For most people who get coronavirus, it will be a mild infection, but we all have a role to play in protecting the most vulnerable people in society.

"By staying at home if you have suspected coronavirus, you will be helping to protect your friends, colleagues and the wider community and will help control the spread of the virus."

The latest Government advice is as follows:

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when your symptoms started.
  • This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
  • Stay at least two metres away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • Sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
  • You do not need to contact NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

The Government says that schools should remain open but has advised schools and colleges against all overseas trips for children under 18 until further notice. Large gatherings such as sports events and concerts can continue to go ahead at present, amid concerns that moving too soon with stricter measures could bring public fatigue.

Mr Denley added: “It’s very clear that these are just the first steps in what will be required of all of us during the delay phase.

“This is going to be a long process and coronavirus is sadly going to be with us for many months.

“In the meantime, good hygiene remains the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time and, if you cough, to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.

“It’s also important to stress that smoking puts people at greater risk of respiratory conditions; there’s still time for people to help protect themselves from coronavirus by quitting smoking.”

Wednesday 11 March, 2020

Two further cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wolverhampton today (Wednesday 11 March, 2020).

It brings the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – in the city to five.

Sue Ibbotson, Centre Director, Public Health England West Midlands, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19, two of whom are residents of Wolverhampton.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

John Denley, Director of Public Health for the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and that we are working with health partners at a regional and national level to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Wolverhampton are protected.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time and, if you cough, to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.”

Tuesday 10 March, 2020

A 'drive-through' facility has been opened in Wolverhampton – for Wolverhampton patients referred by NHS 111 only – which will quickly, safely and conveniently test people suspected of having coronavirus.

The facility, which has been set up on a City of Wolverhampton Council-owned car park off the A449 to the north of the city centre, will enable people from Wolverhampton who have been referred by NHS 111 to be swabbed for the virus, also known as Covid-19, without them having to enter a hospital building or their local doctor’s surgery where they might inadvertently put others at risk. 

It is one of a number of temporary mobile test centres to be set up around the country. Individuals will be swabbed from the comfort of their vehicle before returning home and receiving their results from a healthcare professional once the sample has been tested. Please note, individuals will only be able to use the facility if they have been referred by NHS 111.

Mike Hastings, Director of Operations at Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We are working in collaboration with NHS colleagues to begin community drive-through swabbing of patients to test for coronavirus.

"By testing people in their cars rather than inviting them into hospital sites or GP surgeries we are able to greatly reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

"It's important to stress that this service is available by referral only. People will not be seen or tested if they turn up without a referral from NHS 111."

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Public Health, said: "This temporary facility has an important role to play in allowing people who show symptoms of coronavirus to be tested in a safe and convenient location without having to go into hospital or another clinical environment where they may inadvertently put vulnerable people at risk of infection.

“Individuals using the drive through facility will not leave their vehicles, so will not place others at any risk, nor will people living or working nearby be at any increased risk of infection.

"I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public from coronavirus remains low and that we are working with health partners at a regional and national level to do everything to ensure the people of Wolverhampton are protected.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time and, if you cough, to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and show any of the symptoms of coronavirus, including a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away  – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital.”

There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. For further information and advice, please also visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Monday 9 March, 2020

Following the death of a local resident, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said:

"It's tragic to hear that a Wolverhampton resident with underlying health conditions who tested positive for coronavirus has sadly passed away.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

"I’d like to reassure the people of Wolverhampton that the risk of infection is still very low - and that the council is working with the NHS, Public Health England and other partners at a regional and national level to help reduce the risk of further cases.

In the meantime, we all have a role to play in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus. Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time, and if you cough, to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.”

Monday 9 March, 2020

Two further cases of coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – have been confirmed in Wolverhampton today (Monday 9 March, 2020).

Sue Ibbotson, Centre Director, Public Health England West Midlands, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19, two of whom are residents of Wolverhampton. 

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

John Denley, Director of Public Health for the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and that we are working with health partners at a regional and national level to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Wolverhampton are protected.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time and, if you cough, to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away  – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at Coronavirus". 

For further information and advice, please visit Coronavirus advice and information.

Sunday 8 March, 2020

The council is working closely with the NHS, Public Health England and other emergency partners locally and nationally to ensure key organisations in the city are fully prepared for cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in the city.

John Denley, Director of Public Health, said: "The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the city on Sunday (8 March, 2020). Please view the Joint Statement for more information.

“We always expected this to happen and I’d like to reassure colleagues that we are working with our health partners at a regional and national level to ensure that council staff and residents in Wolverhampton are protected.

"The council has planned extensively over the years for an event like this. We regularly practice and prepare our response to disease outbreaks, following tried and tested procedures to improve the response for the protection of the public, patients and staff.

“Contingency plans are in place in Wolverhampton, in line with national guidance, with measures to test suspected cases of coronavirus, care for anyone who should test positive and help prevent the onward spread of the virus.

“In addition, we have and are taking a number of steps within the council to both prevent the spread of coronavirus, and to prepare ourselves for a case involving a member of staff.

“People should not worry unnecessarily. The risk to the public is still low. But we all have a role to play in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Like the common cold or flu viruses, it can be spread through close contact between people. Although we are still learning how the virus is spread, we know similar viruses are spread through cough droplets, and therefore I would like to remind people of the importance of a few simple ways to stay protected.

“Firstly, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds at a time. Also, please cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands, if you cough or sneeze, and put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands – please avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning your hands first.

“If you are feeling unwell, please don’t come into work, or go to your doctor or hospital – instead, please visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away.”

There’s lots of advice about how people protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, while the latest Government advice is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus which is updated at 2pm every day and includes information about the virus and important travel advice.

Thursday 5 March, 2020

The council is working closely with the NHS, Public Health England and other emergency partners locally and nationally to ensure key organisations in the city are fully prepared for a case of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, being declared locally.

John Denley, Director of Public Health, said: "It’s important to stress that, as of today (Thursday 5 March) there have been no confirmed cases in city. However as there are an increasing number of cases in other parts of the country, it’s important that we prepare for this eventuality.

“I’d like to reassure colleagues that we are working with our health partners at a regional and national level to ensure that council staff and residents in Wolverhampton are protected should we have a confirmed case in the city.

"The council has planned extensively over the years for an event like this. We regularly practice and prepare our response to disease outbreaks, following tried and tested procedures to improve the response for the protection of the public, patients and staff.

“Contingency plans are already in place in Wolverhampton, in line with national guidance, with measures to test suspected cases of coronavirus, care for anyone who should test positive and help prevent the onward spread of the virus.

“In addition, we have and are taking a number of steps within the council to both prevent the spread of coronavirus, and to prepare ourselves for a case involving a member of staff.

“The council is planning for various phases of impact, based on Public Health England modelling. This includes what the council needs to do right now, prior to there being a confirmed case in Wolverhampton, what it needs to do if and when the first cases are confirmed or the problem escalates, and what to do when the number of cases reduces.

“Colleagues should not worry unnecessarily. At present, we do not currently have a case of coronavirus in Wolverhampton, and we want to keep it that way.

“But it’s important that we take all necessary precautions so that if and when we do have a confirmed case, we are in a position to respond accordingly.

“Members of Strategic Executive Board are discussing the coronavirus outbreak on a daily basis, regular teleconferences are being held with national and regional health and government colleagues to ensure a coordinated response, and representatives from Public Health, HR, Education, Social Care, Communications, IT and other key services attend a daily tactical coordinating group meeting.

“Regular briefings are being provided to managers and councillors on the situation, and we’ve created a hub providing information for staff.

“The next employee briefing, taking place on Wednesday 17 March, will focus on coronavirus, while information regarding coronavirus, good hand hygiene and NHS England’s Catch It, Kill It, Bin It winter campaign is on display in public areas and on digital screens in council buildings and key locations including kitchens and toilets.

“Hand sanitiser has been made widely available in all buildings, along with pocket packs of tissues for staff and visitors, and an enhanced cleaning regime has been introduced at all council buildings.

“A wide-ranging communications and engagement plan is in place to target internal and external stakeholders, as well as the general public. The communications team continues to share key messages from Public Health England via its social media channels (www.twitter.com/wolvescouncil and www.facebook.com/wolverhamptontoday) and is responding to various media inquiries about the council’s preparations for an outbreak, including issuing a joint statement on behalf of the four director’s of public health in the Black Country (www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/news/coronavirus).

“We are also signposting service providers including social care settings and schools to Public Health England information and guidance, and drafted suggested wording for schools to use when communicating with parents, while information for the public has been added to the corporate website, www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

“In addition to the above, we all have a role to play in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus. Like the common cold or flu viruses, it can be spread through close contact between people. Although we are still learning how the virus is spread, we know similar viruses are spread through cough droplets, and therefore I would like to remind colleagues of the importance of a few simple ways to stay protected.

“Firstly, I would like to remind colleagues of the importance of washing your hands regularly and thoroughly. Also, please cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands, if you cough or sneeze, and put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands – please avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning your hands first.

“If you are feeling unwell, please don’t come into work, or go to your doctor or hospital – instead, please visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away.

There’s lots of advice about how people protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, while the latest Government advice is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus which is updated at 2pm every day and includes information about the virus and important travel advice.

Tuesday 3 March, 2020

Joint statement from the 4 Directors of Public Health for the Black Country:

Deborah Harkins, Dudley Council
Lisa McNally, Sandwell Council
Stephen Gunther, Walsall Council
John Denley, City of Wolverhampton Council

Council health leads in the Black Country have moved to reassure members of the public that plans are in place in the event of a coronavirus outbreak in the region.

So far there have been no confirmed cases in the Black Country, however Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils are working closely with the NHS, Public Health England and other emergency partners to ensure they are fully prepared for a case of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, being declared locally.

Speaking on behalf of the 4 Directors of Public Health, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health John Denley, said: "We welcome the government’s action plan which was published today. We’d like to reassure people that we are working with our health colleagues at a regional and national level to ensure that people in the Black Country are protected.

"The government and local authorities have planned extensively over the years for an event like this. We regularly practice and prepare our response to disease outbreaks, following tried and tested procedures to improve the response for the protection of the public, patients and staff. 

“Contingency plans are already in place across the Black Country, in line with national guidance, with measures in place to test suspected cases of coronavirus and care for anyone who should test positive.  

“There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus and early detection measures will continue to be vital in helping to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“We urge all Black Country residents to keep an eye on the Government’s guidance which is regularly updated and covers a range of topics from travel advice, returning travellers and information on locations of risk.

"In the meantime, we can all do our bit to help prevent the spread of the virus. There are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family. These include washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, including before preparing and eating food. Please cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands, if you cough or sneeze, put used tissues in the bin immediately and please avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning your hands first. 

"If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111 for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital.”

There’s lots of advice about how people protect themselves online, including the latest Government advice which is updated on a daily basis, and a video guide to good handwashing.

NHS Guidance
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