An additional 204 cases of Covid 19 have been registered in Sutton Coldfield for the week 30th January - 5 February compared an updated figure of 266 for the 23rd- 29th January based on data from Birmingham City Council’s public health division.
The 7-day case rate between 30th January to 5th February in Birmingham is now 291.5 cases/100K population, compared to 393.0/100K for the period between the 23rd to 29th January.
Over the 7 days leading up to 5th February of 25,843 PCR pillar 2 tests, 3,194 (12.4%) were positive, higher than the regional and national averages but lower than last week.
Birmingham ranks 11th in the region for pillar 2 PCR tests, with 2,263 tests per 100k population. Over the 7 days leading up to 5th February 35,744 lateral flow tests were also carried out.
Hospital admissions have decreased again from last week and range between 52 and 111 new cases a day at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust over the 7 days from 30th January - 5 February.
The new UK variant accounted for nearly 85% of cases in Birmingham in the week to 2nd of February and 79% nationally.
Locally 15,500 patients within the lists of the GPs working out of the Town Hall hub have now received a vaccine. This includes 90% of the over 80s, 91% of those aged 75-80 and 83% of those aged 70-75 and the clinically extremely vulnerable. Some of the housebound patient lists are proving slightly trickier however the aim is still to have given vaccines to this group by the end of tomorrow. Those aged 65-70 are now being booked in for vaccines with quite a few receiving a jab within the last few days.
Feedback on our Town Hall as a vaccine hub continues to be positive. It is a convenient location with plenty of free parking. For those keen to know what to expect when they visit for a jab, the Town Hall team have produced a helpful video of what can be expected during a visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwyOiHV0XGI
Between the vaccination launch date and Tuesday this week the Town Hall received 107 calls, mainly relating to the vaccine rollout, with a significant increase in Google searches and positive Google reviews too.
Anchorage Road was due to be closed for resurfacing works from next week, however alongside our local Councillors I have asked Birmingham City Council, Kier and Arcadis to delay the works to ensure that there is no impact on our Town Hall vaccination site.
Royal Sutton Coldfield updates
On Monday our West Midlands Mayor Andy Street was in Sutton Coldfield for the launch of the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme. The initial trial will feature five docking stations and 25 bikes placed in and around our town centre for the next month. The scheme has been created to encourage more people to become active and to offer a convenient and more environmentally-friendly alternative using a car for shorter journeys around our town. The scheme will be rolled out in Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, West Bromwich, Solihull and Walsall by the end of July.
I was able to meet Andy (in a socially distanced way) during his visit which offered another a good opportunity to discuss priorities for our Royal Town and the ways in which we can work together to ensure Sutton Coldfield prospers as we look ahead to a recovery from Covid 19. As well as plans for our town centre and economic growth we also discussed the imminent upgrade of Cross-City line trains serving all stations in Sutton Coldfield. The new carriages will be cleaner and greener, will increase capacity and introduce a better experience with air conditioning, free Wifi and power/ USB sockets. We also discussed the proposals to restore passenger trains to the Sutton Park line which has taken a step forward in recent weeks with the purchase of the site for Aldridge station.
This week I also had a chat with the team at Cinnamon Care, the organisation behind the new Sutton Park Grange Care Home which is due to open in the next few weeks. The care home will offer residential and dementia care.
A number of constituents have been in touch in recent weeks about their waste collections and registering for garden waste service. I have raised a number of concerns with Birmingham City Council. Garden waste subscriptions are now open for 2021 and cost £45 for fortnightly collections between early March and early December if booked before the 1st of March when the price will rise to £50. https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/gardenwaste
Good news for our region as the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has received approval for their new headquarters and airbase at Neachley Lane in Cosford. The new airbase and headquarters will have a clinical training simulation suite and will help address the increased demand for advanced patient care on the scene of accidents and incidents.
Westminster news and Parliamentary business
On Tuesday I was back down in the House of Commons and I spoke in the debate on the publication of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. I have posted a clip on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eby27s_LYoc
This week in Parliament I have also held virtual meetings relating to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Rwanda and the APPG for Choice at the End of Life.
The Government has announced that West Midlands Police is to receive an extra £3,370,000 for local Violence Reduction Units, which work to reduce violent crime and address its underlying causes, as well as funding vital local projects to support preventative work with young people.
The Government has also allocated Birmingham City Council £3.2 million funding to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children. The funding will help ensure victims and their children who need it are able to access life-saving support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation, including refuges.
Yesterday the Government launched a blueprint for NHS and social care reform following the coronavirus pandemic. It is obviously most important that lessons are learned. Ministers have published a White Paper, setting out measures that will support improvements in integrated care, reduce bureaucracy, improve accountability and better support social care, public health and the NHS. The reforms will also establish the ways in which we can use technology to a greater extent to support NHS staff and patients. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/blueprint-launched-for-nhs-and-social-care-reform-following-pandemic
This Sunday I will be on Lyca Radio on the Talking Points show discussing a wide range of political issues. The show is on between 11am-1pm http://www.lycaradio.com/
Opportunities and Events
Our Town Hall is a local asset and when things begin to return to normal I hope that we will all be able to visit the venue once again for the wide range of activities that are usually on offer. In the meantime their first streamed theatre event will take place tomorrow. The event has been fully funded by the Government’s Cultural Recovery Grant. Tickets are free, though donations are encouraged. https://www.suttoncoldfieldtownhall.com/whats-on/virtual-events/9803/ https://www.suttoncoldfieldtownhall.com/whats-on/virtual-events/9803/
Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority are introducing a new ‘Dragons’ Den’ style competition for ideas which will help local communities build back better. The Community Recovery Innovation Challenge will award 20 prizes worth £500 for the best ideas along with an invitation to an innovation masterclass. The top three ideas will receive bespoke support valued up to £15,000 each, to help take the project to the next stage of development. Entries should be submitted by midday on 21 March 2021. To find out more visit: www.wmca.org.uk/CommunityBounceback
Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority are also encouraging small social enterprises within the cultural and creative sector to apply for grants to help them develop their own business models and then provide support for five other micro-sized enterprises. The Cultural & Creative Social Enterprise project has a strong focus on tackling inequalities within the cultural sector. The scheme is open to enterprises that have a turnover of less than £250,000, have generated profit but employ no more than 15 full time staff members. Successful applicants will be able to access tailor-made training and mentoring provision to help them to grow: https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/culture-and-creative-economy/culture-and-creative-social-enterprise-development-programme/
Talking of culture, my three current recommendations for enforced leisure at home include Call my Agent (https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80133335), Lupin (https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80994082) and It’s a Sin (https://www.channel4.com/programmes/its-a-sin/on-demand/68719-001)
Birmingham City Council is seeking the views of local young people about the ways in which Covid 19 has had an impact on their lives. A short survey is available online: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BCCYouthSurvey2021
The Commonwealth Games team continues to list new opportunities on their website. There are a wide range of jobs across a number of different fields: https://birmingham2022.gigroup.com/current-vacancies/. Local businesses can also register to keep up to date with tendering opportunities on the following page: https://commonwealthgames.finditinbirmingham.com/
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