The leader of Dudley Council has issued a stark warning today, after recorded Covid-19 cases almost doubled in the borough last week.
Residents are being called upon to reduce household transmission by staying apart wherever possible.
Under the government's 'rule of six', which came into force Monday, it is now illegal for people anywhere in the country to meet in groups of more than six, indoors or outside.
The rule applies to most settings, except where additional members of the group are members of the same household or bubble or in certain settings such as schools and workplaces. Social distancing must be observed at all times whenever people from different households or bubbles meet.
Last week, restrictions were announced in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull preventing any contact between households from today onwards - and Dudley's proximity to these neighbouring areas means that unless behaviours change quickly the borough risks facing further restrictions and greater lockdown measures of its own.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
Today we are faced with a stark choice, reduce our social contact or risk facing increased local restrictions.
Covid-19 infection rates are rising rapidly across Dudley and the West Midlands, and the spread of the virus is mainly being driven by social gatherings in the home.
New guidance limits gatherings to no more than six people in most situations, but we really need local residents to go further than this if we are to avoid the introduction of measures such as those that have been imposed upon residents in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull from this week."
The seven-day incident rate in Dudley borough is now 30.2 per 100,000 with 99 recorded cases from 4 to 11 September. This is up from 25.2 per 100,000 last week.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, added:
We are concerned about the increase that we are seeing in covid-19 figures.
We all need to act now to protect our communities and we can play our role by remembering the all-important hands, face, space.
People must remember not to gather in groups bigger than six and anyone who is symptomatic should ensure they isolate and seek a test."
- Practice social distancing when they are with anyone who is not a member of their household or support bubble (from yesterday, it is illegal to meet in groups of more than six indoors or outside, with some exceptions).
- Wear a face covering in enclosed public places like shops and on public transport, unless they are exempt on medical grounds.
- Thoroughly clean frequently touched areas in the home or at work.
- Continue to wash their hands more regularly with soap, for 20 seconds at a time.
Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or change to a person's sense of taste and smell. People with symptoms, no matter how mild, should immediately self-isolate and book a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.
There's lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.