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Hertsmere designated 'an area of concern' over coronavirus spike

Schools and synagogues on alert in the run-up to Rosh Hashanah

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The government has designated Hertsmere an “area of concern” over its rise in coronavirus cases, which has been attributed partly to “friendship groups [among teenagers] in the wider local Jewish community”.

Latest government figures show that the infection rate in the borough – home to key synagogues and Jewish schools – was 63.34 per 100,000 population over a seven-day period, one of the highest rates in the country.

Pupils from Hertsmere Jewish Primary and Yavneh College have been self-isolating and Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue, the largest US congregation, has said it “won’t hesitate” to cancel Rosh Hashanah services if the situation demanded it.

Councillor Tim Hutchings, executive member for public health in Hertfordshire said: “We welcome this endorsement of the robust warnings that we have been making within the local community and the need to adhere to the rules. These include the enhanced rules announced for gatherings, social distancing and the need to self-isolate.

“We hope this move will bring additional government support, including additional testing for key workers in this area, faster access to data, enhanced resources for contact tracing and improved co-ordination with London.”

Hertsmere leader Councillor Morris Bright said the council had been doing a lot of ‘proactive work’ in recent days.

”As always, our communities in Hertsmere have really come together. Our focus right now is to work with partners to contain the spread of the virus whilst keeping priority services, including schools, open wherever possible.”

Since August 24, there have been 93 cases in Hertsmere, 39 involving those under-20.

 

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