Following the first day of our rapid testing initiative and the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, a great deal of work is underway in our Borough to protect and support residents and to minimise the continuing concerning high number of daily cases we unfortunately see locally.
Whilst we did not see any positive cases yesterday in our testing programme at the Civic Centre, we have seen our first positive result today, with this person being advised to both isolate and take a PCR test, which is standard procedure. This small example shows how we are protecting both staff and the residents we serve and I am grateful to the colleagues who are operating this facility, with plans now well advanced to expand onto another site.
As a reminder, we know that a proportion of people who have the virus are unaware because they have no symptoms (as was this case in the example above) and so they are in danger of spreading it to others without knowing. Test results are available quickly, within 30 minutes and you can also book a test by visiting the website www.bromley.gov.uk/rapidtesting.
Our Public Protection team are already checking that businesses are complying with the regulations, with ‘takeaway alcohol’ from pubs now prohibited in this lockdown period. Grants are again available for businesses in this period and we will be in contact directly with businesses about this and I will share details in due course. Education colleagues have been in contact with schools now that ‘home schooling’ is underway again, with the national lockdown extending closure locally until at least February halftime, with this reflected on our website https://www.bromley.gov.uk/press/article/1719/remote_learning_until_february_half_term.
The Prime Minister explicitly mentioned the start of shielding again and we have maintained our assistance team who are ready to support those who need it, with our helpline fully operational. We were in direct touch with those previously on our shielding list shortly prior to Christmas and we are receiving a relatively small number of enquiries and although it is not needed at this time, we are continuing to receive a small number of applications from residents looking to volunteer, which is heartening in these times. Also on a positive note, our tracing work is continuing to be effective, which as well as minimising the spread also gives us an opportunity to offer these residents support at a difficult time.
Please direct your residents to the website www.bromley.gov.uk/Covid-19 as the primary information source which we are continuing to update and I will be in touch shortly with further developments. Please continue to play your role to help prevent the spread of this dreadful virus and feel free to share this information with your residents and local contacts.