Update from Director of Public Health
Covid-19 in Tower Hamlets - Dr Somen Banerjee
As Covid-19 testing ended for most people at the start of April, there is no longer information on levels of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Tower Hamlets. However, the Office for National Statistics survey, which tests a sample of two million people every week across the country, indicates that around 1 in 14 people have Covid-19 and this is likely to be a similar in Tower Hamlets. This is a slight fall from previous weeks, but still means levels remain high. You can find out more about the Office for National Statistics online.
Free testing for Covid-19 from the NHS has ended for most people in England.
If you think you have Covid-19 you are no longer advised to get tested. If you have symptoms, you are advised to stay at home and away from others to avoid passing on the virus. You should also avoid being in close contact with people at higher risk from Covid-19. The NHS Guidance can be found online.
If you live with someone who has Covid-19 or stayed overnight in their household, you are more likely to catch Covid-19. As it can take up to 10 days for Covid-19 infection to develop you could pass on the virus to other people, even if you do not have symptoms. To reduce the chances of passing on the virus you no longer need to do daily rapid lateral flow tests. However, you should avoid contact with anyone who has Covid-19 and people at higher risk from Covid -19. You should also limit contact with people you do not live with, wear a face make when in close contact with other people and wash your hands often. Advice on what to do when you have been in close contact with someone with Covid-19 is available online.
There are a small number of people who will still be able to get free Covid-19 tests from the NHS. You can get a free NHS Covid-19 test if you have certain conditions which mean you are eligible for new Covid-19 treatments, if you are going into hospital for surgery or a procedure or if you work in the NHS or in social care. Further advice is available online.
Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 now and any future waves. Thousands of people in the borough are continuing to come forward every week to get their first, second or booster doses. There are more sites than ever across the borough for you to get the next vaccine that you are due for. Please check the council website to find out where you can get your jab.
We are currently rolling out the spring booster programme (for all over 75s and those aged 12 years and over with weakened immune systems) and the programme for children aged 5 to 11 years old, to protect children from future waves. All vaccine information is available on the council website.
Important ways to keep each other safe
While many things are changing, living with Covid-19 does not mean ignoring it or doing nothing. It’s important to note that many aspects of our response will remain. For example:
- We continue to roll out vaccinations and work with all parts of our community to enable the continued uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, including booster jabs.
- People who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 are eligible for early access to Covid-19 treatments. Those eligible can find out more online.
- It will still be important for everyone to carry on with the good public health habits we have all become used to:
- washing hands regularly
- staying at home if ill with symptoms of Covid-19
- wearing a face covering in confined, or crowded spaces
- letting fresh air in when meeting people indoors
You may have heard about monkeypox in the news recently. You can stay up to date withe the lastest information on symptoms and how you can access help and information on gov.uk and our monkeypox webpage.
Thank you for reading and stay safe.
Dr Somen Banerjee
Director of Public Health