Waltham Forest has recorded the fourth-highest case rate in the country, reports Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter
The recent spike of Covid-19 cases in Waltham Forest is “extremely concerning” and must be brought under control, the council leader has warned.
Council leader Clare Coghill said residents should “understand the consequences” if infection rates do not slow – warning of increased restrictions if London is put in Tier 3.
The latest accurate data for the borough shows the current rate of infection is almost 270 per 100,000 residents, having risen from just over 200 in less than a week.
Last Friday, at least 163 new cases were confirmed in the borough, the highest figure recorded since the pandemic began (although far more testing is taking place compared to spring). More than 100 new infections were reported on Tuesday.
The borough is now ranked fourth in the country for local case rates, and second in London. Only Medway, Havering and Kent now have more cases per head.
Asked if the council was aware of any reason for the spike, Cllr Coghill said: “It is not just Waltham Forest where we are seeing a rise in cases. The latest data shows an increase in 21 London boroughs.
“We are not here to pass blame or speculate without evidence – we are here to support our most vulnerable residents and ensure Waltham Forest is well placed to recover when the worst of the pandemic is over.”
In a statement to residents, she wrote: “If cases continue to rise the government will choose to move us into tier three and increase the restrictions on all our lives.
“Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you still need to be careful and make sure you actively help to stop the spread when you leave home.
“It has never been more important to follow the rules to prevent the spread, get tested and self-isolate when you need to.
“Sadly, we have also had 18 Covid-19 deaths in the past four weeks and I’d like to extend my sympathies to anyone who has lost someone to this virus.”
She urged residents to wash their hands regularly, wear a face covering in indoor spaces and keep two metres away from anyone they do not live with.
The council has given out more than 35,000 free reusable face masks and has translated advice on how to stay safe into several languages.
The council has also started using ‘rapid lateral flow tests’, which take less than an hour and do not require a lab, for priority groups.
A payment of £500 is also available for those who need financial support while self-isolating.