The rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has resulted in the highest infection rates that Walsall has seen at any time during the pandemic.
The number of residents now requesting lateral flow testing kits (LFT) is also at an all-time high following several changes to self-isolation rules.
Due to the increase, local supplies of LFT’s including those in pharmacies are currently low in the borough.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health said: “We are hearing from a few Walsall residents who are unable to source lateral flow tests at the moment.
“We are really grateful so many people have taken up the option to test frequently.
“Like other organisations, Walsall Council is reliant on the government to supply us with lateral flow testing kits for local use. During the festive break, deliveries of kits to the borough were intermittent; causing some local supply issues. Unfortunately the number of residents currently requesting kits through our local supply is outstripping the number we currently have available.
“Some workplaces in Walsall including care homes and education settings receive their kits directly from national supplies and so are not dependent on us locally.
“I would like to ask everyone to be considerate when requesting kits, in only taking as many as they need for their household until our supplies build up again.
“The UK Health Security Agency has advised us that LFT kits can still be ordered online or by calling 119. It is important that residents are aware that during periods of exceptional demand there may be temporary pauses in ordering or receiving tests. Throughout the day, availability is refreshed, keep on trying.
“If residents would like to collect a kit from a pharmacy they need to request a collection code online however, this does not mean that a kit has been reserved for you. It just helps the NHS match your details to the tests.
“Please be patient as I expect local supply levels to return to normal soon.
“Using the right test at the right time can also help us manage demand. With COVID-19 rates, being so high I would advise anyone who feels unwell to remain at home and arrangements made to get a test. This should be an NHS PCR test and not a LFD.
“There is absolutely no room for complacency at the moment. Get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible, manage down your social contacts to reduce your risks of having to self-isolate. Wear face coverings, social distance, have good hand hygiene and let in fresh air.