Following an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Redditch in the last seven days, Rachel has issued the following statement:

“It was important I met with Public Health at Worcestershire County Council this afternoon following an increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Redditch in the last seven days. I hope I can provide residents with some reassurance following this meeting.

“It’s important to say that positive coronavirus cases remain low in Worcestershire. On average we’ve been seeing 3 or 4 confirmed cases a week in Redditch.

“16 of these 25 new confirmed cases are linked to five households following a family gathering and each family has been contacted by NHS Track and Trace to gather further information.

“The five households are now isolating and Track and Trace is contacting anyone who these families may have come into contact with and will be asking them to isolate too. These cases have been identified and this situation has been contained. Track and Trace is doing its job.

“The remaining cases from last week have been looked into to identify any links and to put any additional measures in place – if any are needed. They too have been isolating.

“Currently, Public Health does not believe there is a link to any known outbreaks. These cases are not linked to a workplace or community venue.

“We will not be entering into a local lockdown in Redditch. These measures are not being considered and we are not being added to the Government’s watchlist. Public Health experts expect to see the number of cases fall again next week.

“I’m now calling for a walk-in testing centre to be set-up in Redditch. This will increase the number of tests available, enable more people to access tests if needed and provide the community with reassurance that measures are being taken in response to this increase in confirmed cases.

“As we’ve seen, the risk from coronavirus has not gone away. We can all continue to play our part in controlling the spread of this virus by washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and by maintaining social distancing by staying at least one metre away from people not in your household.

“We all want to see as many of our family and friends as possible, but it is against the law to meet in gatherings of more than 30 people in private homes, including gardens and outdoor spaces.

“People should also not be socialising indoors in groups of more than two households. And outdoors, you should not be socialising in a group of more than six people from different households.

“I know these measures are tough, but they are in place for a reason. We’ve now seen what happens when people break the rules and gather in large groups. Anyone who breaks rules should be fined and I’ll be getting in touch with the local police chief to discuss this case. Let’s keep following the rules so we can control the spread of coronavirus.”

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire said:

“We have seen an increase in cases in Redditch but these are not linked to a workplace or community venue. We are confident that most cases are linked to a single event in a private household and the risk to the wider community is low. Those who have tested positive are following our advice and self isolating. Others who attended the event have also gone into isolation. We are continuing to trace any additional contacts but the risk to the wider community is low.  

“This is a reminder to all of us that Covid-19 has not gone away, and it is important that we all continue to wash our hands regularly, wear face coverings where necessary, and keep our distance. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must arrange a test.”

Councillor John Smith, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council, added:

“Any increase in the number of cases is a concern to us but our outbreak control processes in Worcestershire are working effectively. We identified an increase in cases in Redditch. 

“Working with our district council colleagues we have acted quickly to find the source and we are taking all the necessary steps to contain the situation. I have been reassured by our Public Health experts that those who have tested positive and their contacts are self isolating. COVID-19 has not gone away, it is crucial that everyone remains vigilant, stays safe and continues to follow the public health advice.”