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Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update on the coronavirus pandemic.

Firstly, the latest figures show a small reduction in the rate of infection locally, which is good news. But it is worth saying that the overall level remains very high, and the pressures on the Epsom and St Helier Trust remain very heavy. The team at the two hospitals are doing a fantastic job at the moment in very difficult circumstances, and we have every reason to be grateful to them for what they are doing. I know that the current restrictions are very unwelcome and that many people are frustrated about them, but I know from my regular conversations with people in our local NHS that right now there is a real need to stop the spread of the virus and avoid more people ending up in hospital.

The latest infection figures for Surrey are here.

VACCINATIONS

The process of vaccinating people against the Covid-19 virus is now well under way locally and a large number of people in the first groups to be done have now either received their vaccinations or been given an appointment.

I was at Epsom Downs Racecourse on Monday to see the vaccination hub there and it was good to see so many people getting their jabs. I am grateful to the local team who have worked so hard to get the hub working.

In due course there will be a bigger range of centres open, including some local pharmacies, but for now the two centres that will be serving our area are at the racecourse and the Fitznells practice in Ewell.

Do not worry if you are in the first groups and have not received your invitation letter for an appointment yet. But please feel free to contact me if this hasn’t arrived in a week or so. The groups being done at the moment are the over-80s, plus care home residents and health and social care staff. I do not have the ability to move people up the list, but I can help if you have genuinely been missed out.

If you have an appointment but need help with transport, please call one of the local branches of Age Concern who can help you. The numbers are:

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell – 01372 732456
Age Concern Mole Valley – 01306 899104
Age Concern Banstead – 01737 352156

DONATE A LAPTOP

Another group that I am very grateful to are our local heads and teachers, as well as the school staff supporting them, who have moved quickly to respond to the need to keep schools partially closed and provide home learning.

Most schools are now providing distance learning online for those students who are at home, but although there are Government-issued laptops available for many families, there are still some locally who are struggling to get the right IT equipment. This is something we can all help with.

I have been working with the team at the local Foodbank, who have been helping families in the Leatherhead area get access to IT, to expand what they are doing to some schools in Epsom and Ewell as well. This is now happening, and I would like to appeal to anyone who has a spare laptop or tablet to consider donating it to this effort. This applies equally to people with personal machines or any businesses that might have surplus or end of lease equipment.

If you can help, please get in touch here with the team doing this important work.

FACE MASKS

Finally, a reminder about mask wearing and social distancing. This is particularly important given the spread of this new, more infectious variant of the virus. It is a legal requirement to wear a mask in a shop unless you have a clear medical reason not to, and supermarkets are now preventing people from entering if they do not have a mask. Please do ensure that you have a mask at all times if you are in a shop or other indoor setting, or if you are outdoors in a very busy area where you cannot socially distance from other people.

Please get in touch with me if you need extra help during this lockdown period, and I will steer you in the right direction.

Best wishes

Chris