Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, speaking at Wandsworth's full council. Published on 16/12/2020.
As we move today into Tier 3, the fight against this deadly pandemic remains very much on, and I fear will continue to impact our lives for many months to come.
This council is doing everything it can to support our residents, communities and the businesses get through this and you will no doubt hear more about this in tonight’s debate.
As of the 15th December, 6652 Wandsworth residents were confirmed as having had the Covid infection.
Sadly, we have lost 232 residents to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Our thoughts go out their families and loved ones for their loss.
Not being able to spend time together in the final days, not being able to say goodbyes and only being able to hold functional and restricted funeral rites has been inestimably difficult for the bereaved. We have not seen such times before.
It is encouraging that the cumulative case rate per 100,000 in Wandsworth is below the London average, with a rate of 2017.7 per 100,000 population compared to 2352 per 100,000 population across London.
Within otherwise encouraging figures, we know that cases in the 10-19 and 20 -29 ages groups have shown a marked increase in the recent weeks.
Our case rate may be relatively lower - But we have no room for complacency.
Elsewhere in London shows just how quick things can change without vigilance of all of us.
The latest situation at St George’s Hospital is that currently there are 141 beds occupied by Covid patients; and currently less than 10% of these patients are on mechanical ventilation devices. Members will be pleased to know that the hospital is treating 673 non covid cases and current spare capacity is 194.
In short the hospital Trust is busy but managing effectively and elective outpatient activity is being maintained
Testing is clearly a major tool in stopping the spread.
We have opened our Lateral Flow Testing site in Wandsworth Civic Suite that provides quick-result tests for asymptomatic residents – we are currently targeting three wards with highest case incidences, with other target groups to follow.
Currently the test centre is open 5 days a week from 9am to 3.30pm. From next week there will be extended hours. Tests are by appointment and bookings are available up to 5 days in advance.
Further ramping up of this Lateral Flow service is expected in the coming weeks as London ups its response - but we have a fantastic starting point on which to build.
And in terms of the main symptomatic testing (PCR), in the most recent 14 days (up to 14th December), Wandsworth’s test positivity rate stood at 7%, lower than London’s rate of 10%.
Overall, within the last 14 days, 18,380 persons were tested, with local testing rate at 5575.2 per 100,000. This rate is higher than London’s at 5428.1 per 100,000.
And in terms of our locally rolled out test and trace service, we have had higher successful follow up of Covid cases compared to London and England.
Local contact tracing efforts are having an impact. Successful follow up of local cases has increased since start of local contract tracing on November 4. In the month proceeding with contact tracing 82% were followed up successfully and since the start of local contract tracing it is 91%.
And finally, in all, there is the hope that the vaccination programme brings to all of us. 130,000 vaccination have been administered nationally.
There is good progress locally too:
There are two hospital vaccination hubs in south west London including St George’s. They are focussing on vaccinating the over 80s who are coming to the hospital, either as on outpatient or being discharged as an inpatient, Care Home staff and high-risk patient facing healthcare staff.
Also, our first Primary Care Network sites opened this week and more sites will be rolled out over the coming weeks. In Wandsworth one Primary Care Network (cluster of GP hubs) began delivering vaccines from 15th December. Again, the focus here is on delivering to the over 80s, care home staff and high-risk healthcare staff.
Madam Mayor exceptional times calls for exceptional effort. We are fortunate that we have a wonderfully devoted staff team working all hours to keep our residents safe.
Our Covid front line is led by the Public Health and Adult Care Services teams – despite the long hours and the obvious strain I am greatly impressed at their unflappable command of the situation. There is an equivalent front line in children’s services making sure our schools are a safe haven for uninterrupted learning.
And behind them an array of support staff from every department of the council, working as a single team be it in rigging up the test sites or distributing supplies or crunching numbers or crafting words.
The whole council will want to acknowledge their professionalism and devotion and tonight send out a message of deep gratitude.