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COVID-19 in Lewisham - 22 July update

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.

Headshot of Catherine Mbema, our Director of Public HealthCOVID-19 infection levels are increasing across the capital and the country. Up to this point, Lewisham has maintained a relatively low rate of infections, but this is clearly now changing. The current rate of COVID-19 in our borough is 18.4 per 100,000 population (as of 11 September 2020) however we know this is going up, mirroring a national trend. You can read more about the case rate in Lewisham on our website.

The Government has confirmed that, for now, testing capacity is in high demand. You may well be one of the many people who are experiencing just how difficult it is to get a test at the moment. Local authorities across London are urgently pushing the Government to make more tests available for the most vulnerable in communities and those with symptoms.

If you have symptoms, please do persevere to try and get a test. Find out how to book a test on the NHS website or by calling 119.

Only get a test if you have Coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested. This will help make sure people who need a test can get one.

What you can do

Getting tested is just one aspect of what we need to do to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our borough. Whilst the Government steps up its testing capacity, there are measures we can all take now.

  • If you have symptoms (maybe you’re trying to get a test or waiting for results), the most important thing you can do is stay at home (self-isolate). Do this to protect your family, your friends and the most vulnerable in our community.
  • Keep a safe distance – if you meet with others, it should be in groups of no more than six people keeping 2m from others (or 1m + with extra measures such as ensuring there is extra ventilation in indoors or wearing a face covering). Meet up outdoors where it is safer and there is more space.
  • Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • Wear a face covering when you are in a shop or on public transport (or in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come in contact with people you do not normally meet).

Understanding how it is spreading in Lewisham

We will continue to roll out local tracing to encourage individuals and venues to do their bit to help us identify people who may have come in contact with COVID-19.

Next week, the NHS COVID-19 app will go live. We’ll share more details about this in the coming days so sign up for email updates to get more information. You will be able to use this app to report symptoms, order a test or check-in to venues by scanning a QR code.

The app is anonymous and nobody, including the Government, will know who or where you are as it traces the spread of the virus, not you or your movements. My team welcomes this app as it will help us to build an even better picture of how the virus is spreading in Lewisham so we can be ready to respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.

Could you be a COVID-19 Community Champion?

We’re in the process of gathering a group of volunteers to become a COVID-19 Community Champions. In this new role, individuals will work closely with our Public Health Team to help share messages out in the borough. We know this is the best way to bring about positive change in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards COVID-19.

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.

Find out more about becoming a COVID-19 Community Champion.

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