Helping each other to stay safe this Autumn

Statements from Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill and Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health, Cllr Candice Atterton.

Published: Thursday, 9th September 2021

Image of Cllr Candice Atterton.

A statement from Cllr Candice Atterton, Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health

Cllr Candice Atterton, Cabinet Member for Adults, Social Care and Health, said: “The work of the Director of Public Health and her team over the last 18 months has been exemplary. The people of Hounslow are very aware of her exceptional leadership and efforts to keep all of us safe and well during the pandemic, and we all owe it to ourselves to continue listening to her expert advice as we learn to live with Covid-19 and as we start to see a return to more normal ways of living our lives.”

A statement from Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill

“Learning to live alongside COVID-19 as part of our daily lives is a challenge we all face as we approach autumn and the winter months ahead when numbers of cases and the normal seasonal ill-health will increase. With pupils returning to the classroom this week, we have been focusing our efforts on supporting our schools, including parents to ensure children can stay in school this term, and that we reduce the number of cases, and children missing education. We are also working closely with faith groups and community leaders to help people across the borough who might have questions about COVID-19, especially women who are pregnant or nursing young babies. 

"Though COVID-19 infection rates are high in Hounslow, they are remaining consistently in the region of 750 new cases each week and a rate of 270 per 100,000 residents and this level is expected to remain for a while yet. Crucially we are not seeing a significant number of people being hospitalised or high numbers of deaths. This does not mean that we can be complacent though. Far from it. It’s important to keep ahead of the risk of an increase, viruses change, we have to expect that and to avoid the impact of an increase in hospital care let’s all work together to do this, not just for Covid, but also with flu season approaching, take action to prevent illness. Now that many people are starting to socialise more and commute to offices again, it’s important that we help each other to stay safe. There are a number of steps we can all continue to take to look after ourselves and others that apply for both Covid and for flu. We still recommend wearing a mask in crowded areas such as public transport, and whilst we are seeing fewer and fewer people wearing masks don’t feel pressured to stop, by doing so you are adding a layer of self-protection and that is important, and getting tested twice a week routinely even though you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. Fresh air is also incredibly important, so do remember to keep rooms well ventilated wherever possible.

"The most important action you can take to care for yourself and others remains getting vaccinated. If you know someone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated, please encourage them to get in touch with us because we’re here to help provide accurate facts and information so that people can make an informed choice. We often hear people who haven’t yet been vaccinated say that they have already had the virus so they don’t think they need to get a jab. Even if you have had COVID-19, getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those you love from the worst impacts of the virus. The overwhelming majority of people hospitalised for Covid are not fully vaccinated, we have seen some older fully vaccinated residents become unwell, and we always expected that antibody levels would reduce over time, and the planned roll out of the booster vaccinations with the annual flu vaccines is timely. From the data and information from our Hounslow health and care services I can assure you, getting vaccinated really does save lives.

"If you would like to talk to someone in our Public Health team about the vaccine, or any other COVID-related concerns, please email: publichealth@hounslow.gov.uk. You can also find more information about how to take care of yourself and others by visiting: www.hounslow.gov.uk/takecare."  

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