Covid-19: Omicron cases detected in West Midlands - here’s where

Omicron cases have been detected in three West Midlands local authority areas

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Cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have now been confirmed in the West Midlands.

One case has been detected in Sandwell, the local council confirmed today (6 December). The council said the person was confirmed as having an Omicron infection early due to a new contact tracing system, so the infected person and their contacts were already self-isolating before the variant was confirmed.

Two cases of the variant have been detected in Warwickshire, which have been linked to travel abroad. A case has also been detected in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire. A further case has been detected in Telford.

Are there likely to be more cases of the Omicron variant in the West Midlands?

Sandwell’s Public Health team announced on their website that they are working closely with the UK Health Security Agency on the ongoing investigation and to identify close contacts and arrange testing.

Sandwell Council was one of the first local authorities in the country to refine its contact tracing service to pick up suspected cases of Omicron early. This includes using a range of new information, including S Gene Target Failure (SGTF) data, which gives an early signal that a coronavirus case may be omicron.

Sandwell’s director of public health, Lisa McNally said: “We were able to identify this case of Omicron infection a few days before it was confirmed, meaning that contacts could isolate and break the chain of infection.

“However, it does seem clear that this new variant spreads very easily and we can expect many more cases in the days and weeks to come.”

She added: “New research also suggests that having been infected with Covid previously doesn’t offer much protection against reinfection with omicron. Therefore, vaccination is crucial if we are going to stay safe this winter.”

“The vaccine remains our best defence against Coronavirus. Whether it’s the first or second dose, or the booster if you are eligible, please take up the offer.”

“If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild, you should self-isolate get a PCR test. This can save lives.”

The Newcastle-under-Lyme resident who had the Covid variant has been self-isolating since late November, and early identification allowed their small number of contacts to also be traced so they could self-isolate and get tested.

Dr Richard Harling, Director for Health and Care at Staffordshire County Council said: “With the Omicron variant spreading to more areas of the country, it was inevitable that it would make its way to Staffordshire. Robust contact tracing has taken place following identification of this first case, which has limited the risk of further spread in the community.

“The new Omicron variant is a timely reminder to everyone to remain vigilant and do what we can to reduce the risks. This means getting a PCR test if you have symptoms however mild, wearing a face covering in shops and on public transport, and getting your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.”

How many cases of the Omicron variant are in the UK?

The number of people in the UK known to have the Omicron coronavirus variant has climbed to 246, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said.

The health body confirmed on Sunday (5 December) there had been 86 new cases reported, including 68 in England and 18 in Scotland.

UKHSA said it had detected cases in the East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West and West Midlands. Yokrshire was the only English region with no cases at this point.

The map above reveals which councils have had a confirmed case as of 2 December, the last day UKHSA published the breakdown.

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