HEALTH bosses have expressed their concerns as cases of Covid-19 in Harlow have begun to rise again.
The number of infections was discussed at a meeting of the Harlow Council Response and Recovery Group, which was held, via Zoom on Wednesday night.
Senior council officer, Andrew Bramidge told the meeting that they were now getting daily figures (as opposed to weekly figures) as Harlow had now entered the RED category.
Just a few weeks ago, it was just 3 cases per 100,000. Now it stands at 23.
The Director of Public Health at Essex County Council has told Harlow Council that he expects a local lockdown “somewhere in Essex”.
Mr Bramidge said: “Our figures mean we are nowhere near the government watchlist but they are growing”.
Those areas of most concern on the watch list are 50 cases per 100,00 plus. Harlow is now on 18 (per 100,000 population) which places it as 141 out of 310 local authorities.
Just a few weeks ago, it was 7 cases and then 10 cases, placing Harlow at 260th out of 310.
It was also revealed that there have been 23 cases in the last week. They have yet to appear on figures.
All the latest cases are white people with 66% of the cases female.
Mr Bramidge added: “This is quite a significant change and tonight we must look as to how to change this and prevent a local lockdown”
He also detailed that it was agreed with Essex County Council that more power should be given to district councils such as Harlow.
The meeting also agreed that more contact with councils such as East Herts and Broxbourne was needed.
Chair of the meeting, cllr Eugenie Harvey also pointed out that “With so many people unable to get tests, these figures may be much higher.”
The chief executive of Harlow Council, Brian Keane said that there are hopes that Harlow should have more direct powers.
“At the moment the power sits with the Director of Public Health at Essex County Council. It is now agreed that it would be better if we had more power.
Mr Keane was asked to give an example where having more power would have been more effective?
He said: “I don’t want to really mention The Chequers (pub in Old Harlow that was issued with a final notice warning) but if we had more power it could have been dealt with slightly quicker”.
Some councillors wanted more specific action. Cllr Joel Charles wanted a “ring of steel placed around Harlow care homes and beyond”.
The leader of Harlow Council, cllr Mark Ingall said: “We are still in the high infectious stage.
“The measures brought in will only have effect in a week to two weeks time. By that time, infection rates in Harlow could be over 50.
The leader of the Harlow Conservatives asked if it was time to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy to licensed premises.
Chair of meeting, cllr Eugenie Harvey said: “I would agree to that in a heartbeat. Public compliance is vital”
The whole meeting can be watched below.
Sitting in the Harvey Centre on Tuesday afternoon for just 10 minutes I counted at least 33 people not wearing face masks, some in families in threes and fours and others coming out of the gym where M&S used to be located. Until such time as there is a crackdown on those who are not wearing face masks I am afraid that the cases of covid in Harlow will continue to increase. At the very least larger shops and the Harvey Centre need to take a leaf out of Asda who are going to employ staff to tackle this issue. If they no longer feel safe, then shoppers will desert the high street again.
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