Covid-19 Update 16th October – Cllr. Jeff Harris

Dear Residents,

With matters changing rapidly, I thought I would give you the latest ‘picture’ as far as Surrey is concerned, and more locally Reigate and Banstead . Whilst there is absolutely no room for complacency the current figures show us locally well below the level of Elmbridge, and certainly most of the rest of the country. By keeping to the guidance we can all ‘do our bit’ to keep it that way.

Number of cases and rates per 100,000 population in the most recent 14-day period (September 29 2020 to October 12 2020) and most recent 7 day period (October 06 2020 to October 12 2020) :

Key messages:

  • The rate is going up fast in Surrey, as it is across the country. We’re at a crucial point now and everyone has to pull together to get the rate back down.
  • It has been a really tough year for all of us, and I know people are starting to feel ‘Covid fatigue’. But things are changing quickly and we need to get our infection rates back down.
  • I can’t say it enough – keep washing your hands, wear face coverings when required, limit the number of households you are in contact with and don’t get together in groups of more than 6. Social distancing is one of the best ways to limit the spread of the virus.
  • If we all follow the guidelines we still have the chance to get the situation in these areas under control and avoid tighter restrictions.


Rates in Elmbridge have been escalating and it was decided through our Public Health Team and our Local Outbreak Engagement Board, in conjunction with PHE and Government, that it should move into the High Tier of alert from Saturday 17th October at 00.01*.

*For clarity, when people wake up on Saturday morning, Elmbridge will be a HIGH / Tier 2 area

  • The decision is driven by the data – we are constantly monitoring it in public health team
  • It isn’t comfortable – nobody wants more restrictions, but we have to do what is right for the public’s health, we have to make a responsible decision
  • We have to do everything we can to avoid going into very high now as much further reaching restrictions and huge impact on people’s lives

Why Elmbridge / why are cases so high?

  • Elmbridge is obviously one of our boroughs that is very much intertwined with London, which is moving to Tier 2 at the same time
  • higher population density than some other parts of Surrey
  • borders Kingston and Richmond which both have high rates too and very similar epidemiological curve
  • evidence of widespread community transmission – not to do with clusters – it’s everywhere basically

Isn’t it to do with students testing positive elsewhere?

We did look very carefully at the data around students leaving home in Elmbridge, testing positive elsewhere and that being reported as Elmbridge data, but it only accounted for around 14% of cases which does not change the escalating trend we’ve seen or the higher numbers compared with elsewhere.

Will other areas follow?

As we have been doing throughout, we will analyse the data on a daily basis. I don’t think we can rule anything out or predict the future with any degree of certainty. We should all act with extra vigilance throughout Surrey and halt the spread of this virus. If the numbers show any worrying escalation, we will not hesitate to act.

I hope all the above makes sense, but I cannot repeat enough times, the progress and severity of the disease rests with us all.

Please remember the simple rules and stay safe, stay healthy.

Thank you for all your support.

My very best wishes,

Jeff. Harris

County Councillor Tadworth, Walton on the Hill, Burgh Heath and Kingswood.

16 October 2020


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