Most young Hammersmith and Fulham people who have caught coronavirus did so on holiday or at a party

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

Some people who recently tested positive for coronavirus in Hammersmith and Fulham may have got it after going on holiday or to parties.

Health officials have contacted 46 people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the past two weeks to find out where they might have contracted the virus.

Three quarters of them had recently got back from a foreign holiday and 60 per cent had been to a party, said Councillor Ben Coleman, Hammersmith and Fulham council’s cabinet member for health.

Cllr Coleman said: “It’s helpful to understand what people are doing.

“We are determined to step up our communications with young people.”

He said 40 per cent of the cases were among 20 to 29-year-olds, and 22 per cent were aged 30 to 39.

“We know we have a very young borough,” Cllr Coleman added.

The council is running a campaign on social media and with leaflets on estates to get young people tested.

Hammersmith and Fulham saw 33 new cases confirmed between Monday and Thursday of last week.

This meant the borough had an infection rate of 27.5 cases per 100,000 people, which was the second highest rate of anywhere in London.

There were 183 cases diagnosed in August and September, and 40 per cent  of the cases were people in their 20s.

Director of public health Nicola Lang explained the rise was reflecting the wider pattern across London, which was seeing more positive test results.

Dr Lang said: “The number of cases is increasing rapidly in London. We noticed an increase starting at the end of August. That’s why we have been extremely vigilant as it’s very worrying.”

The council has also used IT to track every cluster of cases from the start of the pandemic.

It now has four methods of trying to get the infection rate down, including by deploying mobile testing units in the borough every day.

“Wherever we notice a ward or area has got more cases we immediately put a mobile unit there,” said Dr Lang.

Testing units have also been placed at the Olympia, Phoenix leisure centre in White City, and Farm Lane care home in Fulham.

These are sites where people can walk in for a test without a booking.

The council is also working with Imperial College London’s infectious diseases experts before students arrive for the start of the academic year to plan what would happen if there are cases in halls of residence or on campus.

 


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