Hackney coronavirus data update
Over the past few weeks there have been a number of household clusters and isolated cases of coronavirus in Hackney, especially in the north of the borough.
Up to 9 August there had been 999 cases in Hackney, including 84 new cases in the past 2 weeks. Across London the R value is between 0.8 and 1.1, meaning that the virus could still be spreading. However, the risk of catching the virus is still generally low, but we must all continue to take precautions to keep the risk low. By washing your hands regularly, watching your distance by keeping 2m apart, and wearing a mask.
London is in a very different situation from other parts of the country which have seen partial local lockdowns. Compared to areas under local lockdown, such as Blackburn, Leicester, Oldham, or Bradford, London has low rates of infection. At borough level, though, Hackney is an outlier with much higher rates of infection than other London boroughs, though only about a quarter to a fifth of the rates in the lockdown areas. So in Hackney we’re not yet on the brink of a local lockdown, but that will only stay true if people comply with government guidelines, especially around social distancing. If the virus can’t physically go from host to host then it will be stopped in its tracks.
We believe that this recent increase in coronavirus cases is due to compliance with social distancing slipping as lockdown measures are eased. People may have been confused when the government message changed from two metres to one metre plus. That is one thing that we want to reinforce for people, as social distancing is key. With one meter plus, the plus means mitigations like wearing a mask, or sitting side by side rather than face to face. This has been confusing for people, the guidance is still to keep 2m distance.
It’s particularly important to remember to maintain the 2m distance, as far as possible, when visiting others in their homes or having visitors in your own. Although socialising between households is allowed under the current government guidelines, this is also the main way that the infection is spreading from person to person in Hackney at the moment. So, we must be more careful.
Another one of the major hurdles we have to overcome to control the virus, is knowing where people are getting infected. But the problem is 46% of people in London don’t know how to get a test, and if we don’t have that testing data we can’t put public health measures in place, like contact tracing, to help contain the virus. That’s why we launched a major public health communications campaign ‘Keep London safe’ with posters going up, GPs sending texts, leaflets delivered to all homes and social media posts. We have also met with local community leaders and have developed a toolkit so volunteers can help get public health messages out to all parts of Hackney’s communities. Everyone needs to know that, even if you have mild symptoms of coronavirus, you can book an NHS test by calling 119 or going to nhs.uk/coronavirus - and that this is free to all.
We want to reassure residents that we are working closely with Public Health England and our partners in the NHS to nip this in the bud, and stop these new cases from spreading. But we need help from all our residents. So if you have symptoms, self isolate, order a test straight away, and if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace you must comply and self isolate. In your daily life prevent the spread by following the 3 W’s:
Wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
Watch your distance, keep 2m apart
Wear a mask on public transport, in shops, museums and indoor crowded spaces.
If we all practice these precautions and engage with NHS Test and Trace, we can keep coronavirus at bay in, Hackney, London and beyond.
If you have coronavirus symptoms such as a cough, fever or loss of taste or smell , please isolate yourself from other people for 10 days and get a test by calling 119 or going to nhs.uk/coronavirus. If you are asked to self isolate, regardless of symptoms, you must do so to keep from possibly passing it onto others.