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Council voices concern as Covid testing in Stamford Hill 'drops dramatically'

'Until we have a sustained drop in infections alongside sustained levels of testing, we can't be complacent,' official warns

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Hackney Council remains concerned at the incidence of coronavirus within the borough. Although the infection rate appears to be slowing, testing rates in Stamford Hill have "dropped dramatically". 

The council last week warned that tougher measures might have to be introduced if the recent spike in infection was not curbed. 

According to the BBC, the 53 new cases in the week ending September 6 was a rise of four on the previous week. 

The overall infection rate dropped from the previous week to 18 per 100,000 people –  under the 20 per 100,000 rate at which health officials become concerned. 

But a council official said there remained unease that testing rates in the N16 area  - where much of the Stamford Hill Jewish community is concentrated – had “dropped dramatically”. 

The official added: “Until we have a sustained drop in infections alongside sustained levels of testing, we can't be complacent.” 

In recent weeks, the council has written to Stamford Hill residents to remind them to wear masks in synagogue and shops and urged people in three wards with a strong Jewish presence to take extra precautions. 

The local Jewish community, which reactivated its coronavirus task force last month, is making special preparations for the High Holy-Days. 

These include arranging pop-up synagogues in school halls to accommodate a seasonal increase of people wanting to go to shul who had previously avoided public spaces - and also arranging shofar blowers to visit vulnerable people staying at home. 

Over Pesach, when the virus was at its height, deliveries of kosher meals to those in need tripled. 

“We are mindful that people do not have family or friends around them,” said Yocheved Eiger, a member of the task-force. 

In Gateshead, the infection rate stood at 53 per 100,000 with an increase of 75 cases on the week before. 

But one Jewish resident said he was aware of only one new case of coronavirus among its 3,000 strong Jewish community – an 18-year-old who may have contracted it for a second time. 

A couple of seminary students had isolated themselves after coming into contact with someone with the virus over the holidays before the start of the new term, the resident added. 

 

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