This last week I have had a number of really sad and difficult conversations with friends who have lost family members to COVID-19 including those in the prime of their life in their 40s.
This serves to remind us all that this disease is a deadly killer and we should not drop our guard against it notwithstanding the length of the battle. Again, I want to offer my deepest condolences to those in the borough who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease.
We owe it to everyone who has lost loved ones, and to our own family and friends to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. Although our case rates are coming down, they still remain incredibly high.
High rates of COVID-19 in Ealing
Yesterday we had the highest rates in London and the fifth highest in the country. As of today, for the week ending the 24 January we had an average across the borough of 666 per 100,000 of population. This puts us marginally below Brent who have the highest infections in the capital.
This average figure however masks a particular challenge we have in Southall where case rates are the highest in the borough with three wards, Lady Margaret, Southall Broadway and Southall Green all with case rates over 1,000 per 100,000 of population.
The average for Southall is just under 1,000. The case rates are coming down in Southall but not quickly enough.
Many thanks to our places of worship
I’d like to put on record my thanks to all the places of worship right across the borough and particularly those in Southall who have voluntarily closed for both communal worship and private prayer and continue to remain closed.
This is vital if we are going to get the virus back under control and save lives. I would urge any place of worship that is still open to close immediately and help us bring infection rates with this killer virus down.
Got symptoms? Get a test
Can I urge people to get a test if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate along with their household. If you don’t have symptoms, and particularly if you are not able to work from home, you can get a rapid test at one of our six asymptotic testing centres that are available across the borough. You need to book one of these tests through the council’s website. Currently between 2 -3% of people getting these tests are testing positive for COVID-19.
Vaccination rollout continues
The roll out of the vaccine continues with approximately 25,000 residents of the borough in the four highest priority categories having received the vaccine so far. It is so important that people do take the vaccine as this is the only way we can return to some kind of normality.
It is also critical that our black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, who already suffer disproportionately from this virus, take the vaccine. Please listen to the trusted voices in your communities that are reassuring you that it is safe and urging you to take it. It will protect you and your loved ones and help us get out of this COVID-19 prison that we find ourselves in.
Thank you to parents
Finally, we heard from the government that schools are preparing to reopen on 8 March and I would just like to thank all those parents and teachers who are working so hard to teach our children through home schooling or in our schools. You are all doing an incredible job. Thank you.