The infection rate in Wolverhampton, driven largely by the Omicron variant, currently stands at 1,919 cases per 100,000 residents – the equivalent of over 5,000 local people testing positive in the last 7 days. By comparison, the highest it reached during the third wave last winter was around 1,100 cases per 100,000.
Councillor Ian Brookfield, the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "We know, based on what has happened in London and other parts of country, that the situation in Wolverhampton will get worse before it gets better, not just in terms of infections, but hospitalisations and disruption caused by people having to self isolate.
"The current rates of infection and transmission mean that – like so many other areas – pressure is beginning to build on public services in our city and across the region.
“We want to do all we can to prevent this having an impact on services the council provides and it's right and proper that, as a council, we prepare for all eventualities.
"In response to this, we are closely monitoring service delivery, pressures and risks in light of modelling from London which suggests we could see up to a quarter of staff absent for Covid related reasons over the coming weeks. So, it could get very bumpy with a perfect storm of high service demand and Covid-19 decimating staff numbers.
"Our focus is on maintaining essential council and city services and making sure that those people who need our support the most are prioritised because this is a city that leaves no one behind. There may be some delays on other services and things may take a bit longer than normal over the coming weeks, but please bear with us.
"To minimise disruption, we are working hard with partners across the city to ensure that frontline staff in particular are able to get swift access to Covid-19 tests as and when required.
"We are continuing to follow latest Government guidance on working from home for employees where this is possible and we are ramping up our ongoing support to our city’s care homes and schools.
"And we will push even harder on increasing vaccination levels across the city, because we know how important it is for people to get vaccinated – and have their booster.
"Fortunately, while case numbers are significantly higher now than they were in the last wave, the proportion of people who are falling critically ill is much lower, and that’s because so many residents have now had their Covid-19 jabs, and their booster. The vast majority – nearly 90% – of those who end up in intensive care with Covid have not fully taken up their vaccination offer, so if you are due a jab, please get it as soon as you can.
“We also need people to continue following the guidance around wearing face coverings in busy places and on public transport, and to practice social distancing and meet others outdoors as much as possible.
"We are encouraging city partner organisations and key business stakeholders to follow the example we are setting so that we can protect core services, reduce the pressure on the NHS and put our city in the best possible position to recover from this latest surge.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank key workers across Wolverhampton for their continuing hard work and dedication to local people. Our city has dealt with challenges like this many times before during the pandemic and I am confident that we will once again rise to the challenges ahead."
Latest figures show there were 1,919.4 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 5,048 people tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of cases will likely be higher.
For a full list of local vaccination centres, many of which are offering walk in appointments, please visit NHS. To book an appointment in advance, please visit Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination or call 119. Opening times and ages vary from site to site, but all offer first, second and booster vaccinations without an appointment.