Extensive surveillance of Covid-19 has identified that case rates in the borough of Reigate & Banstead have been increasing for the past few weeks. This is especially evident in the younger age groups, including secondary school age children. In addition to this, an increasing number of these are the Delta variant, which not only is more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) strain but may also be associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation nationally, for those who have not been fully vaccinated.
Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space and following national guidance, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus.
Positive tests with a high enough viral load will be sequenced enabling a better understanding of the variant(s) and the potential spread.
Cllr Mark Brunt, Leader of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, explained: “The ask is two pronged – we are asking everyone who lives, works or studies in the affected areas to get a PCR test, but also to ensure they get vaccinated as soon they are offered – both their first and second doses. We know that two doses offer much more protection.
“While overall case rates are nowhere near the rates we saw at the beginning of the year, they are rising. We are taking this proactive approach to reduce the spread so that we can all continue to enjoy our returned freedoms. Please play your part.”
Ruth Hutchinson, Director of Public Health, Surrey County Council said, “We’ve been seeing rates rising in Reigate and Banstead for some weeks, and we now have evidence of community transmission of the Delta variant. Surge testing in the affected areas is the best way we have of identifying cases and making sure anyone who tests positive isolates, in order to prevent further spread of the variant.
“We know that the Delta variant is more transmissible, so it’s even more important for people to follow the guidance at this time – limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.
“From Friday 18 June, anyone over the age of 18 is eligible for the vaccine, so please make sure you book in for your jab, and get both doses, to protect yourself and everyone around you.”