On Monday I visited the Dean Gardens mobile testing unit for the South African COVID variant with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council in his latest video (above). We were also able to see and hear from the team delivering door-to-door home testing kits for the variant.
Despite the incredibly cold weather, we were both very impressed with the positive attitudes of everyone involved and the great community spirit that this challenge had produced. As of today (Friday, 12 February), we have completed nearly 8,600 tests via the mobile testing unit and door to door work.
Although we have seen an increase in positive cases in Hanwell and West Ealing due to the increased levels of testing, we are still waiting for the genome sequencing to be completed on all the positive tests to see if any of them are the South African variant. As soon as we get these results, any individuals with the variant will be notified first and then we will share the wider results of the surge testing with residents and any further steps that we then need to take.
Currently, the door-to-door team is still working to get more tests completed and collected and the mobile testing unit at Deans Gardens will continue to be open next week.
Cases continue to fall
Overall, cases continue to fall in the borough; although they still remain high. For the week ending 7 February, the number of cases was 294 per 100,000 of population. We 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. In the week ending the 29 January, we sadly saw 40 COVID-related deaths in the borough and the pressure in our hospitals, although slowly reducing, is still very high.
We must all do everything we can to follow the national lockdown rules in order to stop the spread of the virus. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get a test and self isolate along with your household. If you are having to leave your home for work or other valid reasons, then, please get a lateral flow test at one of our six asymptomatic rapid testing centres.
We are making good progress in delivering the vaccine to the four highest priority groups. Over 40,000 people in the borough have now received the vaccine and we now have extra capacity with the opening of a mass vaccination centre at CP House, Uxbridge Rd, West Ealing with potential to deliver 1,000 vaccines a day. When you do get the call to get the vaccine, please don’t hesitate to book a slot at one of our centres and help protect yourself and your loved ones from this terrible disease.
Finally today is Chinese New Year – the year of the ox – so, can I wish all those celebrating in a COVID-19 safe way a very happy new year.