Coronavirus: Cases shoot up in Hackney with 51 new Covid-19 infections in two weeks - the highest in London

Sandra Husbands speaking at the Hackney Council health scrutiny meeting

Sandra Husbands speaking at the Hackney Council health scrutiny meeting - Credit: youtube

Coronavirus cases have shot up in Hackney with 51 confirmed cases in the past fortnight - the highest number of new cases in the whole of London.

While 27 cases were confirmed in the two weeks up to July 12, it would appear that 24 cases have sprung up in the past week alone, according to the latest data published by the City and Hackney public health intelligence team.

This includes pillar one tests, which are carried out in NHS labs and pillar two tests from commercial labs.

Although cases have “drastically reduced” since the first peak of the pandemic, when 179 cases were recorded in the week up to April 3, in recent weeks the number of cases have begun to increase, according to the intelligence team.

At a health scrutiny meeting on July 9, director of public health in City and Hackney, Sandra Husbands, reported seven new confirmed cases that week which signified a “slight uptake” in numbers.

At the time she said: “This puts us into a position where we are closely scrutinising it to see if it’s a general issue but because we started form a low base it looks like a significant increase. That also included a cluster of cases related to a particular setting and so the fact there were a few is not necessarily unusual in that context and may not represent wider community spread, which is what we are seeking to avoid.”

Dr Husbands has now pinpointed a “small number of household infection clusters” are located in Stamford Hill.

Most Read

“Currently these involve very small numbers of people,” she said, explaining that her team is working with Public Health England and speaking directly with residents there to reinforce messaging around social distancing, hand washing and NHS Test and Trace. In April the Gazette reported that Shomrim volunteers had been driving around blasting out loudspeaker messages warning people to stay indoors after “hundreds” of people were thought to have caught the virus in Stamford Hill’s Orthodox Charedi Jewish community.

Chaim Hochhauser from the Jewish neighbourhood watch group Shomrim expressed concern that many people in his community were unaware about the need for social distancing because they “do not watch TV or listen to the radio”.

READ MORE: ‘Hundreds’ infected with coronavirus and five dead in Stamford Hill

The City and Hackney health intelligence team has said the increase in confirmed cases over the past fortnight could also be due to an increase in the number of tests completed, which almost doubled from 1,482 in the fortnight from 15 to 28 June, to 2,707 in the next two weeks to July 12.

The second highest number of new cases in the past fortnight have been recorded in Barnet with 35 cases, followed by Tower Hamlets with 34 and Newham with 32.

Islington meanwhile has been recording on average zero to one new cases per day since mid-May, and saw just 13 new cases in the past fortnight, while there have been no cases at all recorded in the City of London since May 29.

Death figures show that 222 deaths involving Covid-19 had been recorded up to July 3 among Hackney residents, but just one person died in the fortnight up to that date. The number of Covid-19 related deaths in Hackney and City has reduced significantly since its peak at the beginning of April, when Covid-19 accounted for more than half of all deaths registered to residents between March 28 and April 24. During this period the number of deaths recorded was more than three times the five year average from 2015 to 2019, at 286 compared to 84.

Hackney has seen the highest percent of positive Covid-19 test results of any London borough in the last fortnight, with 1.51pc of tests returning positive results.

Hackney’s neighbouring boroughs Newham and Tower Hamlets saw the second and third highest positive test restults at 1.25pc and 1.13pc respectively.

This is still considerably lower than the 5pc of tests that returned positive results in the first week of May, but at that point most cases of Covid-19 were identified through commercial testing, according to the health intelligence team.

“The first few weeks of data on the percent of positive tests should be taken with reservation as pilllar 1 testing still contributed to a large number of cases until this point, but we do not have data on the number of pillar 1 tests completed,” they added.