Clinically extremely vulnerable people have been advised that they should shield again during the national lockdown as Covid-19 infection rates remain high.

The Government says they should stay at home as much as possible and only leave the house for exercise and health appointments. 

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Over 2,000 people a week in Wolverhampton are testing positive for Covid-19, though the real figure of new infections is likely to be considerably higher.

“Shielding was an incredibly important way in which we were able to protect our most vulnerable residents from coronavirus last year, and given how rapidly case numbers have risen in Wolverhampton and other parts of England over the last few weeks, it has been necessary to bring it back now.” 

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable who choose to go out should avoid busy areas and keep all contact with others outside of their household to a minimum. They can continue to meet members of their support bubble and receive care at home from social care and medical professionals. 

They are strongly advised to work from home, and if they cannot, they should not go into the workplace. The Government has written to all individuals who are deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable and they can use this letter as evidence to not attend work, or get a shielding note at NHS

People who are shielding are advised not to go to the shops or pharmacies, and instead should use delivery services if they can, or ask others to collect and drop off shopping for them, such as friends and family, local volunteers or by contacting NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 186 3646. People can register via GOV.UK to request priority access to supermarket delivery slots if required. 

The Government is also offering a free 4 month supply of vitamin D supplements for all adults who are clinically extremely vulnerable to support general health. Anyone who has not already applied can do so at NHS.  

It is important for people who are shielding to take particular care of their mental health, especially as they spend more time indoors. Support is available through the 24/7 Black Country Mental Health line on 0800 008 6516 and Wolverhampton Healthy Minds on 01902 441856. General health and wellbeing support can be found on the council’s Stay Safe Be Kind webpage or by calling 01902 290241.

Full details of the latest guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable at GOV.UK.

Councillor Jaspal added: "The pandemic has been incredibly hard on all of us, but particularly on those who had to shield last year and are being asked to do the same again during the current lockdown. 

“I do not underestimate the impact it may have had on their mental health, and I would like to thank everyone who is shielding for the sacrifices they are making at this time."

The shielding measures are advisory only, though people are strongly urged to follow them. People living with someone who is shielding do not need to follow the same guidance; instead they should follow the lockdown measures currently in place.

Latest figures show there were 830.9 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 12 January. That means 2,185 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher. 

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at Covid Alert