Covid-19: Council bosses express concern over infection rate in Harlow

News / Tue 1st Dec 2020 at 10:51am

HARLOW residents are being urged to stay safe and follow guidance on social distancing following a recent rise in levels of infection in the area.

The latest data published by Public Health England has revealed a sharp increase in the R rate, with Harlow now having the second highest rate nationally and increasing case numbers. 

No specific key outbreaks are believed to have contributed to the rise and the growth in cases is spread across the whole district, affecting all communities. 

Councillor John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “It is of great concern to see a sharp rise in the transmission of coronavirus in Harlow and a sobering reminder that there is still work to be done to contain the spread.  

“I am urging the people of Harlow to be more careful than ever to help us halt this rise. Please work from home wherever you can. Stay 2m apart from other people – always assume the person you are near may be infected.” 

Testing kits will be available for Harlow residents who are identified as close contacts of anyone in Harlow who has tested positive via the Essex Track and Trace service. They will be in touch via phone or text message if you are a contact and need to get tested.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex’s Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We need Harlow residents to play their part and follow the rules at home or outdoors. This is even more important with national lockdown restrictions ending on Wednesday, when Harlow will be in Tier 2.  

“If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus, please self-isolate and get a test straight away. If you come into contact with a positive case, you should also self-isolate and if offered a test via local Track and Trace, make sure you take it – this could reduce your period of self-isolation.

“We know that if everyone follows these rules and plays their part in reducing the spread that we can reverse this worrying increase.”

Councillor Mark Ingall, the Leader of Harlow Council and Councillor Andrew Johnson, the Leader of the Opposition on Harlow Council, said: “Harlow’s recent increase in infection cases is a cause for concern and we must all act now and take care to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our town. 

“Harlow’s residents and businesses have done so much over many months to keep our town’s infection rates down, but now is not the time to stop keeping ourselves safe and neither is it a time to be complacent. We must focus on staying safe, taking care and continuing to do our bit indoors and outdoors to stop the spread. 

“Because if we don’t the reality is that as a town we face tighter restrictions, which no one wants. If we all socially distance we know we can reduce the spread of this virus. Equally we can also stop this virus spreading by self-isolating if we have symptoms and getting tested. 

“Harlow Council and Essex County Council are working together with other partner organisations to focus on this serious public health issue. This includes continuing to monitor infection rates very closely and looking at what further action can be taken to protect lives and keep everyone safe and supported in our town.

“If any Harlow resident needs help, advice or support at this time contact our Community Hub on 01279 927005 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or the Essex Wellbeing Service.” 

For those concerned about self-isolation, or any other aspect of Covid-19, support is available.

The Essex Wellbeing Service offers advice on how to access shopping slots, the Essential Living Fund, CAB advice and access to food via foodbanks. 

Find out more here: www.essexwellbeingservice.co.uk or call 0300 303 9988.  

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1 Comment for Covid-19: Council bosses express concern over infection rate in Harlow:

Colleen Morrison
2020-12-01 14:50:51

I understand that some 60% of Pricess Alexandra Hospital's patients come from outside of Harlow. Mr Gogarty should therefore state how many of PAH's Covid-19 patients are from outside of Harlow. Are Covid-19 patients who don't live in Harlow inflating Harlow's rate of Covid-19 infection and is this unjustly causing Harlow to be placed in Tier 2? If that's the case, Mr Gogarty has no grounds for criticising the people of Harlow.

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