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COVID-19 update 2 October 2020

Dr Catherine Mbema, our Director of Public Health shares the latest update on coronavirus in our borough and the steps we can all take to help protect ourselves and everyone in our communities.

Across the country, the overall rate of COVID-19 infections continue to rise and Lewisham is following this trajectory. We are starting to see an upturn in the number of people able to book a test and we hope to see this further improve as the government works to increase testing capacity throughout the system.

I know that some of you are still finding it challenging to get tested but please continue try to book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate until you get the test result.
As the government looks to increase testing capacity, it is vital that we continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by taking the simple steps to regularly wash our hands, wear a face covering and maintain the safe 2 metre-space from others.

Call for Black Community Champions

October is Black History Month. Being of Black African (more specifically Ghanaian) heritage myself the month has a lot of personal significance to me and my public health work. As well as joining colleagues, friends and family in celebrating and reflecting on the historical and cultural influences of our Black community, I’d like to invite all those Black leaders and influential individuals from BAME communities in Lewisham to step up and support our campaign to Keep Lewisham Safe.

Last month, we put a call out for Lewisham COVID-19 Community Champions, a group of volunteers to work closely with my Public Health Team to help share messages out in the borough. We’ve had a good response, but I would like to see more representatives from our Black African and Black Caribbean communities to better reflect the population of our borough. People are more likely to listen and engage with someone who looks like them and has similar life experiences so it’s really important our team of volunteers is as diverse as our borough.

COVID-19 Community Champions will remind residents how to keep safe, answer questions, offer advice to local businesses on how to trade safely and support the safe use of our parks and open spaces.

If you live in Lewisham and know someone who might be interested you can find out more about COVID-19 community champions.

Share your contacts

Contact tracing helps ensure that any cases of coronavirus are identified quickly to support individuals with symptoms and protect the wider community. Lewisham Council is supporting the NHS in helping those who have tested positive identify and track their close contacts to provide public health advice.

If you develop symptoms, let friends, family and loved ones who you’ve seen in the past three days know to consider self-isolating too until you get your results. If you test positive, you must share information about your recent close contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help alert other people who may need to self-isolate.

If you test positive, you’ll be asked to log onto the NHS test and trace website as the easiest way to share information about your contacts. If this isn’t possible, a trained member of staff will talk you through what to do.

Remember, this team will never ask for bank details, pin numbers, passwords or ask for any form of payments.

Join me in downloading the NHS COVID-19 app

If you have a compatible mobile phone, the NHS COVID-19 app is an easy way to see if you are at risk from coronavirus.

Nationally, over 14 million people have now downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app. It is a useful way to check symptoms, get a test and scan a barcode to check in to venues such as cafes, restaurants, places of worship or hairdressers.

I know some people are worried about giving away their information and data, but the app is anonymous. It tracks the virus, not individuals so nobody, including the government, will know who or where you are.

All venues across Lewisham should offer you the opportunity to share your contact details by writing them down.

I’ve downloaded it already and I encourage you to do the same - to download, search for the NHS COVID-19 app. Get help downloading the NHS COVID-19 app.

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