12:40PM, Friday 28 August 2020
Slough has been named as a COVID-19 ‘area of concern’ by Public Health England but positive cases are now said to be falling.
The council announced on Thursday, August 20 that the borough had been placed on a coronavirus watchlist due to a rise in positive tests for the virus at the start of the month.
Slough’s ‘area of concern’ status took into account the demographics of the borough’s population, including the black and minority ethnic communities which are said to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Previous high levels of infection at the beginning of lockdown and levels of contact tracing following a positive test were also factors influencing Public Health England’s decision.
Cllr Natasa Pantelic (Lab, Cippenham Meadows), the council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, told the Express there have only been two positive cases reported in the area over the past week but residents needed to remain vigilant.
She said: “We had a rise in positive COVID-19 cases towards the beginning of the month but that number is now falling.
“This week we’ve only had two positive cases, but the virus has not gone away so residents need to continue playing their part by socially distancing, washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask (unless you’re exempt) in shops and enclosed spaces and to follow the track and trace guidelines if you’ve tested positive.”
Latest figures reveal 749 people in Slough have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, a rate of 500.9 per 100,000 people.
Neighbouring local authority the Royal Borough has recorded 484 positive tests at a rate of 319.6 per 100,000 population.
A mobile COVID-19 testing unit will be open from 10am to 3pm in the car park at Arbour Vale School, Farnham Royal, until Monday, August 31.
The council said safety teams have been visiting key shopping areas to ensure safety measures are being followed.
A local volunteer-led test and trace system is also under consideration.
Council chief executive Josie Wragg said: “Residents do not need to be unduly worried, but this serves as a timely reminder that COVID-19 is still out there, still circulating in our community and still affecting local people.”
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