Council advising Sandwell businesses as COVID cases rise

Published 21st July 2020

Sandwell Council has written to all borough businesses in a bid to halt a surge in COVID-19 cases.

This is to give the Public Health Team’s advice to firms on how to open and operate safely in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

The council has also created an online advice page for borough businesses.

The letter has been translated into all the main languages spoken locally, including Somali, Slovak, Punjabi (Pakistan and Indian), Polish and Urdu - and posters in different languages are available to download from that webpage.

Director of Public Health Dr Lisa McNally said in some cases recently, by the time her team knew about an outbreak, there were already dozens of cases and a major outbreak underway – making outbreak management very difficult. 

She said: “We have written to businesses reminding them that they must notify us if there are two or more cases in their workplace within a two-week period.

“Businesses need to understand that it is their responsibility to inform the council’s Public Health Team if they have two or more cases of COVID-19, by emailing PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk immediately.

“Unfortunately the data we receive from government on cases does not include employment information, which leaves us reliant on businesses to keep us informed. 

Dr McNally emphasised that it is very important that people engage fully with the national Test & Trace service and supply all the information necessary.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said everyone should take the situation very seriously and she urged businesses to trust the council to help them at the earliest possible stage.

She said: “The sooner we can intervene the more we can help - so firms must let us know if they have any concerns.

“I would appeal to people to stay at home as much as possible and stick to social distancing rules. 

“The virus has not gone away – as this worrying surge in cases clearly shows.”

Anyone with symptoms must book a test straight away and only leave home to go for the test. If the test is positive, the whole household must isolate for 14 days.

Please remember to ensure you and your employees are adhering to the following advice:

  • Anyone who develops symptoms – persistent cough, temperature or loss of smell or taste – needs to immediately self-isolate for 7 days.
  • Where possible people with symptoms should be isolated from others in the household who do not have symptoms. If you develop symptoms book a test immediately online or by calling 119.
  • Avoid any unnecessary interaction with people from outside your household. Crowded environments should be avoided.
  • If you have to go out, maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (preferably 2 metres) from other people and wear a face covering.