An additional 124 cases of Covid 19 have been registered in Sutton Coldfield for the week of 6th -12th February compared to 204 for the 30th January- 5th February based on data from Birmingham City Council’s public health division.
The 7-day case rate between 6th-12th February in Birmingham is now 215.1 cases/100K population, compared to an updated figure of 303.5/100K for the period between the 30th January- 5th February.
Over the 7 days leading up to 12th February, of 26,414 PCR pillar 2 tests, 2,306 (8.7%) were positive, higher than the regional and national averages but significantly lower than last week.
Birmingham ranks 6th in the region for pillar 2 PCR tests, with 2,313 tests per 100k population. Over the 7 days leading up to 12th February 36,023 lateral flow tests were also carried out.
Hospital admissions have decreased again from last week and range between 47 and 78 new cases a day at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust over the 7 days from 6th-12th February.
The new variant accounted for nearly 98% of cases in Birmingham in the week to 10th of February and 96% nationally.
Locally at our Town Hall vaccine hub the team has secured an additional 2,000 doses of vaccine by working alongside our CCG and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust. The team will work throughout the weekend and by the end of the week will have delivered another 3200 doses to people in the Royal Town. By the end of Sunday they should have vaccinated around 18,000 people in total since the rollout began. Approximately 90-94% of all people in groups 1-4 in the priority list have received their first dose, with 90% uptake in group 5 and good progress with group 6. The attached image shows an overview of our local uptake from the data available.
Across the Midlands over 2.6 million people have received their first jab. Individuals who have been invited for vaccination can book via the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/
Royal Sutton Coldfield updates
On Wednesday I spoke to Henrietta Brealey about boosting business in Sutton Coldfield. She is Director of Policy and Strategic Relationships at the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. We had a discussion about the impact of Covid 19 on local businesses in Sutton Coldfield and the regional and national response to the economic challenges created by the pandemic.
Local Suttonian and our Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Capt. Jay Singh-Sohal has set out his plans for increasing the number of neighbourhood police officers and Special Constables. He will ensure we have more police on our streets, based out of our local Sutton Coldfield police station. Above all he will stop it from closing if he is elected this May.
Gracewell of Sutton Coldfield has launched a virtual ‘Reach out community café’ for anyone who cares for, or has a loved one living with dementia. The online sessions take place on the first Wednesday of the month between 5pm – 6pm, giving participants the chance to meet people who are in similar situations to share insights and experiences. The monthly meeting will also help people form friendships and to become a part of the Gracewell family. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Important news regionally this week as West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority have formally endorsed Coventry Airport as the preferred site for the regions’ Gigafactory. The site which is under 27 miles away from the centre of Sutton Coldfield could accommodate up to 4.5 million sq ft of commercial space, making use of the large areas of hard standing and existing development. If approved, the site will bring considerable investment to the West Midlands and thousands of jobs.
Andy Street has been a huge champion of the campaign to bring a Gigafactory to the West Midlands and the approval of the site is the next step in his campaign. A bid will be submitted to the Government hopefully to secure funding and discussions are taking place with car makers and battery suppliers to put together the business case. As we embrace new environmentally friendly technology there is a huge scope to boost high skilled green jobs in our region with the potential for new export opportunities too.
I have also posted a video on my Facebook and YouTube of Andy’s visit to Sutton Coldfield last week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db7bcb9Rt4k. I am not sure that I am going to win a BAFTA for my performance!
Westminster news and Parliamentary business
Yesterday the Government announced £18.5 million in funding to help tackle the lasting effects of long Covid, by funding new research to help us better understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of the condition. This investment will fund ambitious and comprehensive research programmes across the UK to help understand and address the physical and mental health effects of the illness. Through this research, we will build on our knowledge and develop the best treatments to help people recover from Covid 19. The UK continues to be at the forefront of scientific research and innovation when it comes to the treatment of Covid 19 and with this funding, we will better understand long Covid.
Today we are delivering on our manifesto commitment to provide greater support to our scientific community by launching a new research agency – supporting high risk, high reward science and cementing the UK’s position as a global science superpower.
The Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) is a new independent research body which is backed by £800 million of funding.
This week Parliament is in recess however thanks to the now widespread use of video conferencing, a lot of meetings that would usually take place in Westminster can now be carried out remotely. I am currently in the process of setting up a new All Party Parliamentary Group which will look at matters relating to the presence of alleged Rwandan war criminals in the UK and the prosecution of those who participated in the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis in 1994.
This afternoon I appeared on BBC World at One which is available online (from about 20 minutes in) https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000sbfd
Opportunities and Events
Applications are open for National Lottery Grants for heritage projects, with sums available from £3,000 up to £5million. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/full-range-national-lottery-funding-resumes-refocused-priorities-2021-22
The Government has launched the First of Kind 2021 Rail Innovation Programme, a scheme to help companies with promising new technology designed to benefit passengers and the rail network. The programme aims to help innovative companies overcome practical barriers which make it difficult for them to bring their ideas to the rail market. https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/search
World Book Day, the annual celebration of reading for pleasure, is taking place on Thursday 4th March. For those planning ahead, the World Book Day website is packed with resources for all ages to help celebrate reading https://www.worldbookday.com/
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