An update on rising coronavirus cases in Hackney
Coronavirus infection rates in Hackney have been increasing. As of 27 August (the most recent confirmed and comparable figures available) there were 21 positive cases per 100,000 residents across the borough.
However, in wards in the north of the borough, the figure is far higher with, for instance, 79 per 100,000 residents in Stamford Hill West and 38 per 100,000 in Springfield over the last seven-day period.
The Council has issued further, updated guidance to residents living in this part of the borough, setting out clearly how they can help slow the spread of coronavirus.
To help slow the spread of the virus residents in Stamford Hill West, Cazenove and Springfield wards are being asked:
• Not to meet people they do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble
• Not to visit someone else’s home or garden
• Not to socialise with people they do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as shops, places of worship, community centres. However they may attend these venues with people they live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with individuals or groups from other households.
Coronavirus rates are sadly increasing in Hackney. While the Government hasn’t yet told us that they intend to take any additional action, we are deeply concerned that we may need to ask for targeted local restrictions or that they could soon be imposed on the borough, or parts of it.
There has been an increase in younger adults catching and spreading the virus across the country, and many of the new infections in Hackney appear to be a result of people returning from holidays abroad. We want to remind people that it’s absolutely vital that they strictly self-isolate for 14 days if returning - or visiting - from a restricted country.
Rates are increasing across Hackney, but particularly in the north of the borough where the key challenge is transmissions within and between households.
In the past few weeks we have gone beyond current national guidance and asked people in the N16 area to avoid mixing with other households, besides the usual measures of hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and physical distancing. That advice still stands and, in addition, with the upcoming Jewish holiday period in mind, we have written to residents, strongly advising them to avoid visiting countries on the quarantine list or welcoming visitors from those countries. We hope that if local people make these short term changes voluntarily, we can avoid any mandatory restrictions being brought in by the Government.
We continue to ensure there is targeted communications, local testing centres and to work with partners across the borough to make sure we are reaching the entire community - we cannot do this alone. We also need residents to listen to the advice from Hackney’s Public Health Team, get tested and follow the guidance they will receive if they test positive or have been contacted through NHS Test and Trace.
The Covid-19 pandemic has already cost too many lives, but it has also brought out the best of our borough in so many ways; from mutual aid networks to fundraising to support the most vulnerable and simply checking in on our neighbours. Now we again need to look out for everyone - our friends, family, neighbours - and play our part to keep Hackney safe.
We are extremely concerned about the rising infection rates in Hackney. Whilst there are a few infection clusters in other parts of the borough, the majority of the confirmed cases we are seeing are coming from the N16 area of Hackney. The data that we have strongly suggests that the original source of this is overseas visitors from countries now on the quarantine list. Those countries include the USA, Israel, and Belgium.
We are aware that the Jewish holiday season is imminent, a time of year that may see hundreds of families visiting each other, including visiting other countries or welcoming visitors from abroad. For some it is an opportunity to reconnect with culture and tradition. However, we are urging Stamford Hill residents to reconsider those travel plans, and to avoid close contact with other households, as it is through mixing in each others’ homes that the virus has the best chance of spreading.
If we do not quickly reverse the infection data trend in Stamford Hill, it seems very likely that there will be local restrictions imposed that could have a profound effect on the community and its ability to celebrate the upcoming religious festivals and possibly beyond.
Around a third of all new Covid-19 cases registered in the past fortnight were attributed to household clusters, most of which were located in the N16 postcode area. So we are asking residents in Stamford Hill West, Cazenove and Springfield wards to:
• Not to meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble
• Not to visit someone else’s home or garden
• Not to socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as shops, places of worship, community centres. However you may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but you should avoid interaction with individuals or groups from other households.
Some people may think that the current outbreak isn’t serious, because it primarily affects young, healthy people. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If we allow this to continue unchecked, we are very likely to end up in the same situation as we’ve seen internationally, or elsewhere in England, with more hospital admissions and even deaths, as a result.
We are working closely with community partners and religious leaders, and we know that huge efforts are being made from within the community, but it is important that everybody - individuals, schools, businesses, synagogues - acts fast to stop the spread of infection and avoid local restrictions being imposed. We are writing to every household in the area to outline the very real and imminent risks.