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For the latest Staffordshire County Council coronavirus rates check here.

Latest Information

(Updated September 13)

Details of walk-in vaccination clinics within the region can be found on the Together We're Better Walk-in vaccination clinics webpage. New sites are added as they become available.

(Updated September 1)

Back to school – what you need to know

Pupils all over the country are beginning to return to schools and colleges after their summer breaks. For many pupils they will be returning with far fewer restrictions than when they left for the summer holidays.

Now that there are fewer restrictions, pupils will be able to experience a fuller education experience, including, access to more group activities, team sports, playing with friends, plays, and taking part in musical groups.

Here’s what you need to know on going back to school.

There are three key changes:
1. Mixing and ‘bubbles’
Keeping pupils or students in year group or classroom bubbles to reduce mixing is no longer a requirement.

2. Tracing close contacts
Close contacts will now be identified via NHS Test and Trace. Education settings are no longer expected to undertake contact tracing.

3. Face coverings
Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.

So, what will stay the same?
Coronavirus hasn’t gone away so there will still be a need for schools, pupils and students to follow basic measures to avoid the spread of the virus:

Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools.
Ensuring good hygiene including frequent and thorough hand cleaning and the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes.
Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated.
Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

it true that the start of term is being delayed?
No. We’re aware of misleading reports suggesting the start of term could be delayed by schools. This is not the case.

Our priority is to ensure settings are able to deliver high-quality, face-to-face education to all pupils.

As guidance stated two months ago, and to ensure all pupils receive the education they deserve with minimal disruption, settings may commence testing from three working days before the start of term and can stagger the return of pupils across the first week to manage this process.

But what if there are a number of cases in one school or college?
If there are a number of cases in one school or college, there is advice in place so teachers and staff know what to do.

Schools and colleges will do everything they can to minimise the impact on education and attendance, so might decide to introduce measures like:

Increased testing
Temporarily reintroducing face coverings and;
Restricting attendance as a short-term measure and only as a last resort.
More information on the guidance we have issued to education settings is available on our website: Contingency framework: education and childcare settings.

What if someone tests positive or has symptoms? Do they need to isolate?
Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:

a high temperature
a new, continuous cough
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

You should also self-isolate straight away if:

You've tested positive for COVID-19 either according to a PCR test or a lateral flow device test – this means you have the virus. If you get a positive LFD test you should book a PCR test. A negative PCR test will override a positive LFD test.
Someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – see below if this applies to you)
You've been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.
Pupils should only self-isolate if they have symptoms or if they get a positive PCR or Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test.

If they develop symptoms or get a positive LFD test they should book a PCR test. A positive PCR test cannot be overridden. If a pupil is asked to get a PCR test as a result of contact with a positive case they may continue to attend education until they get the result of their PCR back.

And what will happen for people who have been in contact with positive cases?
Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

they are fully vaccinated
they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. They do not need to isolate while awaiting the PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

Staff who do not need to isolate, and children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal.

If none of the above applies, people should self-isolate as per the instructions from NHS Test and Trace.

(Updated August 17)

The law on self-isolation in England has now changed. Close contacts of positive Covid-19 cases will no longer need to self-isolate if they are either double jabbed, or under 18.

Instead, people identified as close contacts are advised to take a PCR test, 

Anyone who isn't double jabbed or under 18 still needs to self-isolate.

Anyone who tests positive with a PCR test still needs to self-isolate.

(Updated August 6)

Continue to get tested

Walk-in and pop up clinics continue at pace with new sites and varied opening hours on offer, as we push forward to get people fully protected as soon as possible.

Concerns continue around pregnant women with COVID-19, who find themselves in our hospitals and even our intensive care units. The latest figures show that the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 is increasing, with many experiencing serious symptoms. We know that around 98% of these patients regionally are unvaccinated. No pregnant women have been admitted to hospital anywhere in England after having both doses. Our plea is to get vaccinated so that you and your baby have the best protection.

We’re also reiterating the benefits to employers of encouraging their staff and volunteers to get vaccinated to help reduce sickness days and time off to self-isolate. 

This goes for university students too. If you know of students waiting until they arrive, with bags in hand at their new lodgings, there’s no need. Allowance has been made for eligible students to have a first vaccine in one location and the second at another, either by booking through the National Booking Service or visiting a nearby pop-up/walk-in clinic. And the earlier the first dose, the earlier they can have the second and enjoy those nightclubs and hopefully a return to some normality.

(Updated August 3)

Being COVID-safe beyond 19 July

Now able to fully reacquaint with our pre-March 2020 lives, how can employers help their staff and volunteers continue to be stay safe now that restrictions have been removed? 
 
Everyone over 18 should get vaccinated with two doses. As soon as they can. 
With case rates having climbed across our county, the biggest weapon we have is the vaccine programme. And we know one dose is not enough. Two doses of vaccine give the best protection for all age groups. 
 
COVID-19 has not disappeared. Nor does it recognise dates and times. Increasing case rates combined with low vaccine uptake in younger people and those from ethnic minority groups, continues to cause concern. 
 
The faster your staff and volunteers get their first vaccine, the sooner they can get their second. 
This means employers and workforces will also benefit from: 
Fewer staff sick days including those due to Long Covid
Fewer COVID-positive tests, so less time off for self-isolating
 
As all viruses, COVID-19 continues finding new ways to keep going, infecting us human hosts as it mutates into ever-new variants in a bid to boost its own survival. Although the Delta variant is the most publicised, it’s unlikely to be the last. 
 
How successful we are at reclaiming our much-valued celebrations and customs – without putting those around us at risk of losing theirs – depends largely on making the most of the tools scientists have developed to help us outwit these clever bugs. 
 
Anyone 18 or over or 16 if in an at-risk group, needs to make sure they get two doses to best protect themselves, their colleagues, family and friends. 
We know that both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective at protecting against the Delta variant after two doses and are highly effective at preventing hospitalisation. 
 
People who have not had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are being offered the opportunity to do so across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. 
Multiple clinics are opening to deliver vaccines in our area, with people able to choose to drop in or book an appointment either online or by calling NHS 119. Visit find a walk-in clinic where you will also find a toolkit with digital graphics to share. 

Vaccinations can be booked via the NHS national booking system or by calling 119. Information about vaccination walk-ins in Staffordshire can be found here

Vaccinations in Tamworth

All adults are now eligible to book their coronavirus vaccine. If you are 18 or over, please book an appointment via the NHS national booking system or by calling 119. 

Details of walk-in vaccination clinics within the region can be found on the Together We're Better Walk-in vaccination clinics webpage. New sites are added as they become available.