With the number of people in local hospitals with Covid-19 increasing once more, health leaders in Wolverhampton are urging residents to remain vigilant and to do all they can to stop the spread of the virus this Easter.

There are currently 123 patients at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust either because of, or with, Covid-19 – up from just 24 this time last month. 

And while the Covid-19 infection rate has dropped in recent days, this is partly as a result of the ending of free rapid testing for most individuals, which will mean that more cases go undetected. 

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "With free rapid testing for the majority of people now ended, most of the measures put in place 2 years ago have now been removed – yet it is clear that plenty of people are still getting infected with Covid-19.

"This means that, once again, an increasing number of hospital beds are being taken up by patients with Covid-19, putting additional pressure on the NHS and causing more of a backlog for people waiting for routine treatment and operations.

"The number of people falling seriously ill or dying with Covid-19 thankfully remains low, and that's primarily due to the impact of the vaccine. So, if you haven't already had your first or second jab, or your booster, please get it as soon as possible – getting your booster if it is now due is particularly important because the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes after time."

For details of local walk in Covid-19 vaccination clinics, please visit NHS. People can also book an appointment via NHS or by calling 119.

John added: "There are also plenty of other things you can continue to do to protect yourself, your family and your community from Covid-19. 

"You should wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and please consider wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed places and when you might come into contact with people at higher risk from Covid-19. Try to let in fresh air when you meet others indoors, especially if they're at high risk from Covid-19.

"And please remember that, if you feel unwell and have flu like or Covid-19 symptoms and a high temperature, you should make sure you avoid close contact with others and stay home if you can."

Professor David Loughton CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the Black Country has been rising and this does put additional pressure on already busy healthcare services. 

"We would encourage people to continue to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine or booster when invited to do so as well as carry on playing their part in helping to minimise infection risk within their communities.

“We also ask that anyone attending New Cross, Cannock or West Park Hospitals or any community health settings to still wear face coverings and ensure good hand hygiene.”

For the latest information about coronavirus, please visit GOV.UK