Thursday, 11 March 2021
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
Following an announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care, yesterday, Lambeth council is asking residents living in specific parts of the south eastern area of the borough (i.e. the area in and around Knight’s Hill ward, but also including small parts of West Norwood and some streets in Streatham) - outlined in red on the map below, to get a Covid-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not, after the South African strain of the virus was detected in the local area.
It is important to stress that this is an isolated case – it is not an outbreak.
The case was not linked to travel to South Africa, so the public health team are now working intensively with the Department of Health and Social Care to detect if there are more cases of this variant in the local area, as part of a ‘surge testing’ programme. You may have seen information on the media recently, where similar exercises have been carried out in places in London such as Ealing, Haringey and Merton.
Working in partnership with NHS Test and Trace, every household living in the specific area over the age of 16 will be strongly encouraged to take a PCR Covid-19 test over the next week or two, even if they are not showing symptoms. There will be 2 Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) in the area, which will be deployed to offer PCR testing, with teams working together to deliver thousands of home testing kits to local residents.
There is currently no hard evidence to suggest this variant is more serious than others, or that the existing approved regulated vaccines would not protect against it. In fact, the companies who have developed the three currently approved vaccines are already working to find out how they may need to be adapted to offer very high protection against the emerging variants of Covid-19. Just like the annual flu jab, this would mean tweaks to the vaccine would require an annual injection.
In combination with following the lockdown restrictions and continuing to wash hands, keeping socially distanced from others and wearing face coverings, this local testing of about 10,000 people in the area will help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the new variant.
Anyone living in the area who needs to leave home to attend work, school/childcare or undertake caring responsibilities can still do so in line with the current lockdown rules. This includes attending any healthcare appointments.
Only a very small number of cases of the South African variant have been detected in London. Positive tests will be tracked by Public Health England to identify any further spread of the new variant, enabling a better understanding of the variant itself and identifying if there are any more cases of this particular strand of the virus in the area.
If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of anyone they have been in contact with to NHS Test and Trace when requested.
This is concerning news for all of us– especially if you live in the area, live very nearby or if you have visited recently. The aim of Project Eagle is to urgently detect any cases and help crack down on the new variant.
A map and postcode look up of the affected areas along with further details on this urgent programme of work can be found on the council’s main website, here: www.lambeth.gov.uk/enhancedtesting
Monday, 8 February 2021
Thursday, 28 January 2021
“Families SW London” continue to help local parents in these difficult times — providing useful information and ways to put parents in touch with local businesses.
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Friday, 22 January 2021
I was in touch with Nigel Carpenter, CEO of Spires, recently to find out how they are coping during the lockdown restrictions and this is what he told me:
"The last few months have been a challenging time for us all, not least for those without a place to call home.
We maintained contact with many of the vulnerable women who use our services. We provided emotional support to those who were isolated and lonely, and practical support, by way of regular food parcels, for those at the highest risk from a Covid infection.
Wednesday, 6 January 2021
On Monday evening, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown in response to the high rise in the cases of Covid-19 across the UK. This means major restrictions on all of our lives, and a switch back to the “stay at home” requirement that was in place last spring. This is an even more challenging time than the first wave of Covid-19, with more cases of the virus and more people in hospital, we are therefore being asked to stay at home.
The new restrictions allow people to leave home only to:
· Go to work if you absolutely cannot work from home
· Exercise once a day in your local area
· Seek medical care or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
· Care for vulnerable people or to provide or seek childcare
· And for a small number of other exemptions listed at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Primary and secondary schools have switched to remote learning apart from for vulnerable children and the children of key workers and this is in place until at least February half-term.
Please continue to follow the public health advice:
Wear a mask, stay at least 2 metres distance from anyone not in your household and wash your hands regularly.
If you have symptoms, please follow the NHS advice and get a test. The council has also now rolled out testing for those without symptoms in sites across Lambeth – you can find out more here.
Stay safe, stay at home and together we will get through the coming months
You can access support for yourself or a vulnerable person, whether on mental health, finances, employment or support for young people on the council website: https://beta.lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19
The Lambeth Larder website has an extensive directory of organisations and local community groups which can offer help, support & advice: www.lambethlarder.org
If you need to contact the council regarding services, Lambeth residents can contact the main contact centre on 020 7926 1000. If a face to face appointment is essential it can be arranged via 020 7926 9094, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If someone you know requires urgent support please see the council’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) get urgent help for you or someone you know webpage.
The NHS is still open. All residents are urged to continue to access the NHS services that they may need including urgent and emergency services. You can access NHS services via the NHS App or www.nhs.uk/health-at-home.
Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, but they can still pass it on. You can get a quick free test at a local site in Lambeth to check if you have Covid-19, with results usually returned to you within an hour.
These rapid tests are an important part of reducing the spread of Covid-19 in Lambeth as it will help to identify people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms but who are infectious and could spread the infection to others unknowingly. By getting tested and self-isolating if you have Covid-19, you can save lives and protect the NHS.
Who can get a rapid Covid-19 test
You can get a free rapid Covid-19 test if:
§ You have no Covid-19 symptoms
§ You live or work in Lambeth
§ You are over 18
We are particularly encouraging people who are at higher risk of being exposed to Covid-19 to get tested. This includes people who work in certain sectors, such as construction, education, emergency services, hospitality, leisure, personal care, frontline public sector roles, retail and transport. This list is not exhaustive, and you do not need to prove you work in one of these roles to get a test.
Who cannot get a rapid Covid-19 test
You cannot get a rapid Covid-19 test if:
§ You have Covid-19 symptoms
§ You are under 18
§ You do not live or work in Lambeth
If you have symptoms you should book a test through GOV.UK or by calling 119. The symptoms are a high temperature (fever), a new continuous cough, and loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
When and where to get a test
Currently, you can get a test at the following locations:
Lambeth Town Hall, open from 9am to 4.20pm
Brixton Windmill, open from 9am to 3.30pm
Brockwell Park, open from 9am to 3.30pm
You can get tested again after 7 days.
How to book a test
You must book a test in advance; we do not accept walk-in requests.
You must not attend your appointment if you have any symptoms of Covid-19.
You should attend your appointment on time to allow for safe registration and testing. If you are late, the centre will try to accommodate you, but we might have to rebook a new appointment if the centre is busy.
What to bring with you to the appointment
You should bring:
§ confirmation of your booking - the confirmation email on your mobile device or printed out
§ a mobile device to scan a QR or bar code on the test. There will be devices available if you don’t have your own
§ a face covering (unless you are exempt)
§ you may also want to bring a bottle of water, as we cannot provide water at the test site.
§ do plan ahead - there are no toilet facilities at the test site
How the test works
The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. You can do the swab yourself, but there will be trained staff available if you need support. You can watch a video for a detailed explanation of the procedure.
Once you have finished, the swab will be processed and analysed. Once the test is done, the swab is discarded.
The rapid test is called a ‘lateral flow test’ - it does not need to be sent away to a lab and provides results very quickly, within an hour. More information about how Lateral Flow tests work, their safety and the validation process which they were subject to by Public Health England and scientists from Oxford University before being approved for use across the country, is available on the Public Health England website.
Getting your test results
§ Results will be sent to you the same day via text message and/or email using the contact details you provided when booking your appointment.
§ The results are usually available within an hour – sometimes as fast as 30 minutes.
§ You do not need to self-isolate whilst waiting for the test results, unless you develop symptoms of Covid-19.
If you get a positive result
You must self-isolate immediately and book another test with the national testing service. This is called a ‘PCR test’ and it will be analysed by a lab to confirm the result of your first, rapid test.
To book a test, visit GOV.UK or call 119.
If you are out or at work when you get your result please make your way home. Avoid using public transport if possible. If you are at work please inform your line manager immediately so that they can initiate their organisation's risk management plan – cleaning your work station for example.
Until the results of the second test are known, you and your household should self-isolate. Full guidance on how to self-isolate is available on GOV.UK.
You might be eligible for support to self-isolate
Self-isolating is essential to preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the community. The government has made a £500 support package available for eligible people.
If you get a negative result
You do not need to self-isolate, unless you have developed Covid-19 symptoms, live with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 or have been asked to self-isolate by NHS test and trace.
However, a negative result does not fully rule out Covid-19 infection as there can sometimes be false negative lateral flow tests. This means you could still have the infection, but the test didn’t pick it up. This can happen because these tests only turn positive when there is a lot of virus growing in your nose and throat.
This means that even after a negative test, to protect yourself and others, you must keep following the current restrictions and remember: Hands. Face. Space.
Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home - use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
Face – wear a face-covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Space – stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.
You cannot purchase these tests
The UK Government has been purchasing testing kits for the public to use at approved local sites. The kits are not currently available to purchase on the market.
The tests we provide at our testing sites are totally free of charge.