For the week ending 14 February the number of Covid-19 cases in Ealing was 180 per 100,000 of population – that is a 38% reduction from the previous week. We still however have the highest number of cases in London and are well above the national average. Within the borough we continue to see the highest case rates in Southall and Greenford.
There were sadly 32 Covid-19 related deaths in Ealing during the week 30 January – 05 February. Yesterday London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “there are six times as many people in hospital now than in June last year, eight times as many people on ventilators. In the last 24 hours in London there have been more than 1,000 new cases, and 93 deaths.”
Hospitals under pressure
The pressure in our hospitals locally is still very high and so we need to maintain our current efforts to stop the spread of the virus by staying at home and following the lockdown rules. I hope the Prime Minister on Monday is cautious in any relaxation of the lockdown rules.
It is so important that residents isolate and get a test if they develop any COVID symptoms. There is plenty of testing capacity at our symptomatic testing centres in the Borough. Call 119 or visit nhs.uk/coronavirus to book a test. We are also encouraging people who are having to leave their homes and who don’t have symptoms to get a rapid test at our separate rapid testing centres.
You can book these rapid tests through the council’s website. I want to thank residents in Hanwell and West Ealing for your ‘amazing community spirit’ in helping the council to carry out enhanced testing for the South African variant of COVID-19.
A total of over 9,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed and returned for testing. Any samples found to be positive for coronavirus by NHS Test and Trace have been sent off for further analysis to determine which strain of the virus those people had.
The council is awaiting confirmation of the results of this extra testing by NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England. Anyone who was found to be positive was contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate.
People found to have the South African variant will be contacted by Public Health England a couple of weeks after they took their test.
Vaccine being offered
I also want to thank everyone who has taken up the offer of a vaccine and everyone involved in delivering the vaccine.
Everyone in the first four priority groups were offered a vaccine by the 15th February and over 50,000 of the most vulnerable Ealing residents have now received the vaccine.
The focus is now on giving the vaccine to the over 50’s and additional clinically extremely vulnerable in the Borough – the 5-9 priority groups and also giving the second dose of the vaccine to the 1-4 priority groups.
It is also important to say that anyone over 70 or any health or care worker in those first four priority groups who didn’t get the vaccine when it was first offered to them can change their mind and get the vaccine if they get an appointment when it is offered to them again.
The government has enlarged the definition of clinically extremely vulnerable and has asked more people in the borough to shield. We will be proactively reaching out to these residents by telephone after they receive their letter from the government and they can also ring us on our Ealing Together helpline – 020 8825 7170.
Support for businesses
Finally, businesses in Ealing will shortly be able to begin applying for three of six grants to help offset the financial burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The first applications to open will be the COVID hardship, aviation sector and culture sector grants on 26 February, other schemes will follow shortly after.
All the details are on the council coronavirus business support page and I would encourage local businesses that are struggling to apply for these grants. Please remember to follow the ’hands, space, face’ rules and stay home, to protect the NHS and save lives.