11:51AM, Friday 21 August 2020
Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has named Slough as an ‘area of concern’ following a rise in positive coronavirus cases.
The town reported an increase in coronavirus cases over the last two weeks although infections have since been falling.
It takes into account the demographics of the borough and its population – including the black and minority ethnic population which is known to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19, previous high levels of infection at the beginning of lockdown, levels of contact tracing following a positive test and no clear link between any individual venue or workplace.
Josie Wragg, chief executive, 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.
“It has not gone away, we are not back to normal and, to protect everyone in our town, people need to follow the advice on handwashing, face coverings and social distancing, get tested at the first hint of symptoms and, if a test is positive, self isolate and take part in the test and trace system to the best of their ability.”
The council has a local outbreak management cell in place which meets daily to analyse the latest outbreak data and plan local preventative measures.
It is currently assessing whether to put in a place a local tracing system with volunteers to enhance the national provision and looking at sites for another testing centre based in local communities.
Safety teams have also been visiting key shopping areas to ensure they are complying with safety regulations.
The partnership project, run with public health, CCG and voluntary sector colleagues, to engage with minority communities is also being considered by other local authorities as best practice in helping those most at risk of both catching and being seriously affected by coronavirus.
And the One Slough volunteer hub for those who need practical help such as food and medicine deliveries because they are isolating remains in place though official shielding has now ended.
Mrs Wragg added: “It looks likes the rise in cases we have seen over the past couple of weeks is a blip and our cases are now falling again; but this is not something the town can continue to let happen.
“It is easy to be complacent, to not see a large daily death toll and think everything is OK, but we are very aware that each new case, each new dot on the map, each statistic is a person, a resident, a mum, a dad, someone loved, someone cared about, someone we don’t want to lose.”
Tan Dhesi MP for Slough said: “Slough has been named as an area of concern, but it is not an area requiring intervention, given that numbers are comparatively low and are decreasing.
“However, what this does show us is that we cannot continue to be complacent. We must remain vigilant, doing our best to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this deadly virus.”
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