Number of cases in borough falls but still at dangerous level
January 28, 2021
More than 300 people have now died in Merton as a result of coronavirus.
Case numbers in the borough are steadily reducing but pressure on hospitals in South West London remains high.
And in recent weeks the council’s director of public health, Dagmar Zeuner, has noticed an increase in non-Covid deaths.
She said: “Our covid deaths are going up but also our non-covid deaths, so there is excess mortality. That is something we are trying to unpack a bit.”
Between January 2-8 there were 33 more Covid-19 deaths in Merton as well as 50 non-covid deaths. For context, in the same week in 2019 there were around just 50 deaths.
Dr Zeuner said that while cases appear to be going down it is too early to celebrate. She added that the numbers of people getting tested for the virus has also reduced.
“There are quite a number of potential explanations, one is that there was a flurry of testing before the holiday period, that was like an unusually high peak,” said the director of public health.
“And the second is that people are having to stay home and if they have mild symptoms there is anecdotal evidence that they think, ‘let’s just stick it out’ as there won’t be much change in what they’re doing.
“We need to say to people, ‘do get a test if you are symptomatic.'”
But Dr Zeuner said it is not necessary for people who are not going out to work to get lateral flow tests if they do not have any symptoms.
For the seven days up to 22 January there was a rate of 498 cases per 100,000 people, this is down from a peak of 1,079 in the seven days up to 4 January.
Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter