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Numbers worryingly high but coming down

In Ealing the COVID-19 infection numbers have gone down in the last week but are still worryingly high, says council leader Julian Bell in his latest video (above). For the week ending 17 January the rate in our borough is 859 per 100,000, a 20% fall from over 1,000 the week before putting us 5th highest compared to other London boroughs.

With admissions to local hospitals still high and COVID-19 related deaths continuing to rise in Ealing we all need to follow the advice to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

This week I’ve had a number of conversations with people I know that have been suffering from this terrible disease. One friend had been in hospital for five days on oxygen due to COVID-19 and felt lucky to be alive having just been discharged. He pleaded with me to tell people to follow the rules – to wash their hands thoroughly, wear face coverings and keep the two metres from people not from your household.

Get tested

It remains vitally important that any resident who experiences any of the symptoms of COVID-19, that they immediately book a test and self-isolate until they receive the result. There remains good capacity for testing at the borough’s symptomatic testing sites at Michael Flanders Centre in Acton, Featherstone Terrace Car Park in Southall and at Gurnell Leisure Centre.

The council’s six testing centres for residents who are not showing symptoms of the virus to get rapid tests are open. They are located in Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Northolt and Southall. Residents can book tests via the council’s Coronavirus information page www.ealing.gov.uk/coronavirus. We are particularly encouraging those who are unable to work from home to get tested frequently, ideally twice a week, so that asymptomatic cases can be quickly identified and isolated. We are also very keen that asymptomatic testing is taken up in those areas with the highest numbers of infections – Acton, Southall and Northolt. There is plenty of capacity at all six sites.

Vaccinations taking place

The vaccination programme for residents continues to be delivered primarily through the two centres in Ealing and Southall, using the Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. To date, around 77,000 north west London residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, including most of the borough’s over 80s. The number of vaccinations being undertaken remains constrained by supply of vaccines, which is currently determined centrally. Vaccinations are progressing well in our older peoples’ care homes, which are due to be completed this weekend.

The message remains that you should wait to be contacted by your GP regarding an appointment for a vaccination and should not turn up at vaccination centres without an appointment.

We are working closely with NHS partners in North West London to ensure that Ealing has sufficient capacity for the mass vaccination stage of the programme.

I can also confirm that NHS staff visiting residents in their homes to administer the COVID-19 vaccine will be exempt from enforcement of Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) measures.

Support if you are struggling

The Ealing Together phone line continues to support residents who are vulnerable or shielding during the lockdown, on 020 8825 7170 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm). Ealing Together can help shielding residents to access priority slots for supermarket deliveries, put residents in touch with local volunteers who can collect food shopping that the resident has paid for, or provide support for those who are struggling financially and cannot pay for food.

Can I again thank all our health, care and key workers including all our frontline council staff for the brilliant work that they are doing during this incredibly difficult time. Please help them by following the rules and stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

Council leader Julian Bell
Council leader Julian Bell

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