Category Archives: Coronavirus

Further coronavirus updates from Surrey County Council

The information below is taken from the daily SCC Leader update that councillors are receiving:

Closure of Countryside Car Parks

Regrettably, we have been left with no choice but to close all countryside car parks owned by Surrey County Council as of midnight tonight. We have closed them as they are a place where groups can and were forming in the last week despite Government guidance on social distancing. This is in line with government advice, and consistent with other major countryside landowners, including RHS Wisley, National Trust, Forestry Commission at Alice Holt and Painshill, which have either closed car parks, or closed altogether as we all try to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

While people can still visit the countryside, we would advise residents who are going out for their daily exercise to visit quiet locations close to their homes and not travel where possible.

I appreciate this is not the news you want to hear but there is a balance to be struck between enabling people to get the necessary exercise and limiting the movement of individuals to prevent further spread.

Please be rest assured this Council is committed to improving and increasing access to our countryside and at our Cabinet meeting on 31st March we will be considering proposals that will see new investment of £1.4m in much needed infrastructure including new noticeboards, wayfinder posts, nature play trails and upgrading our visitor centres.

During these difficult times, and while the car parks remain closed, our officers will continue to work up plans to implement these improvements as practicably as possible.

We look forward to the day when are able to reverse this position, as Government advice is revised in the future. The closures have been well publicised on several of the county council’s social media channels – including Surrey News and Explore Surrey. Additionally, an alert box is on a number of countryside web pages, like this one specifically about countryside car parks.

Government’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ Campaign

NEW public information materials are now available on the Campaign Resource Centre. See full details of all the materials available at the end of this brief. Follow PHE on Twitter: @PHE_SouthEast

The work being undertaken by Surrey County Council – a note from the SCC Leader

The work being undertaken by Surrey County Council staff at this moment in time is nothing short of incredible. We really are seeing public service at its very best – in particular I want to thank our social workers and teachers and those on the frontline who are doing the most remarkable job in the most challenging conditions – and I want to thank them personally for all they are doing – day in day out.

Three core messages

  • Stay at home and save lives. It’s as simple as that – follow the government advice.
  • Surrey County Council’s core mission in this is to ensure that we do everything we can to reduce the pressure on the NHS, protect our most vulnerable communities and support our staff and residents.
  • We will get through this together, thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers, and thanks to the vigilance and shared responsibility of the British public.

General staff … Across the board our staff are working long hours, adapting to remote working very quickly, and are totally focussed on supporting Surrey’s most vulnerable residents and helping our communities deal with this unprecedented challenge.

Vulnerable people’s hub – The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 17,000 most vulnerable in Surrey (who are receiving letters from the NHS). –

  • The Hub will also support the coordination and mobilisation of volunteers and will respond to the needs of our most vulnerable. This may be supporting in the delivery of medicines and food. –
  • The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned. –
  • This work will bolster the work that is already underway by a team operating a community helpline 0300 200 1008.

Social care / PPE – We are continuing to support those most vulnerable residents who rely on us – Our workforce has been amazing at continuing this critical service – There has been an issue with getting the right protective equipment for frontline workers and that is something we have been escalating up to government

Schools – Numbers of children in schools has been lower than expected, our schools are managing – If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. The message from central government is clear – If your work is not critical in the response to Coronavirus then please keep your child at home. Even the children of key workers should stay at home if at all possible.

Public Health England

All campaign materials updated.

‘Stay home, save lives’ campaign: following the Prime Minister’s briefing on Monday night, today SCC has launched a new campaign to encourage people to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The campaign will run across TV, radio, digital and social channels. We have created a suite of assets for you to help amplify the message across your communication channels. The campaign materials are now available to download on the Campaign Resource Centre.

At a national level, PHE has reached out to a significant number of charities and representative organisations to amplify the campaign messages.

‘Looking out for each other’ neighbourliness campaign

We are still intending to launch the ‘looking out for each other’ neighbourliness campaign, however, campaign messages are currently being refined in line with the new ‘stay home, save lives’ campaign. Further updates will be shared in due course.

Self/home isolation campaign

These resources have now been removed from the Campaign Resource Centre as they have been superseded by the new ‘stay home, save lives’ campaign materials. Hand hygiene campaign These materials are still current, however, we are updating the lockup (logo) featured on them with the new ‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ lockup.

Community helpline for Surrey

The new community helpline is available to direct you to services that can help during the coronavirus pandemic. The telephone number is 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm) (These hours are currently being reviewed). This community phone line is here for two things:

  • To help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help.
  • To provide advice on where to register your offer of help to support your community. The Community Helpline will not be able to provide any public health advice (please use existing services such as 111) or answer general enquiries relating to council services (these should be directed to our standard contact page).

Surrey Vulnerable People Hub

The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 17,000 extremely vulnerable in Surrey. The Hub will also support the coordination and mobilisation of volunteers and will respond to the needs of our most vulnerable. This may be supporting in the delivery of medicines and food. The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned. This work will bolster the work that is already underway by a team operating a community helpline. More information on this will follow.

Coronavirus – birth registrations

Appointments postponed for next 21 days. Further to the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March, unfortunately we will not be able to carry out any birth registration appointments for the next 21 days. You can make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered. More information will be made available over the coming days. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.

Mental Health & Well-Being resources from Public Heath England

Public Health England has tailored Every Mind Matters to provide advice and tips on how to manage anxiety during social distancing and isolation.

You can find guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain mental well-being while at home or are worried and anxious about the outbreak is the NHS site.

Partners can signpost people to the website using Every Mind Matters assets on the Campaign Resource Centre There is also information available on the Health Surrey website including information about local help available.

Surrey County Council & SW Railway updates in the light of Covid-19

Latest closures

All 15 of Surrey’s community recycling centres are closed, but waste transfer stations are open to support waste and recycling collections. Residents should check with their district or borough council for the latest collection updates and are asked to hold onto excess waste to prevent the service from becoming overwhelmed.

Physical barriers to prevent access to Surrey County Council’s countryside car parks are being installed from today. The council decided to close the car parks due to the large numbers of people visiting the countryside in groups.

Role of the Strategic Coordination Group (SCG)

Last Friday, the Surrey Local Resilience Forum (LRF) announced that it had declared the response of local partner organisations to the Covid-19 outbreak as a Major Incident – an event or situation with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder agency. The strategic intent of the LRF in the current crisis is to take all necessary steps to support health in reducing and preventing the occurrences of the outbreak of COVID19 which will deliver the best outcomes for the public’s health.

Surrey County Council Chief Executive reinforces Stay Home message

In a message to staff today, Joanna Killian reinforced the Government message to Stay at Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS. We must do all we can to delay and suppress the spread of this virus, making it possible for our friends, family and colleagues working so hard in the NHS, and in social care, to be able to cope with the demand for services now, and in the next few weeks. Joanna thanked frontline workers, who are the only people under the guidance who are permitted to leave home, for doing all they can to protect the most vulnerable in the county. “Many of you, particularly those involved in front-line services in the community, caring for our most vulnerable residents, and those in Surrey Fire and Rescue services, will not be able to avoid this travel. Your roles are vital.”

Community helpline for Surrey

The new community helpline is available to direct you to services that can help during the coronavirus pandemic. This community phone line is here for two things:

1. To help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help. I would like to refer residents in Haslemere to HaslemereHelp. More here.

2. To provide advice on where to register your offer of help to support your community. The Community Helpline will not be able to provide any public health advice (please use existing services online such as 111) or answer general enquiries relating to council services (be directed to our standard contact page).

Surrey Vulnerable People Hub

The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 12,000-12,500 most vulnerable in Surrey. The Hub will also support the coordination and mobilisation of volunteers and will respond to the needs of our most vulnerable. This may be supporting in the delivery of medicines and food. The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned. This work will bolster the work that is already underway by a team operating a community helpline. More information on this will follow.

Trading Standards – Circulating Scams

As the Coronavirus has continued to spread, several different scams have arisen. I wrote about this yesterday here.

However, we also continue to also see the usual scams circulating, including emails telling people that they are eligible to receive a tax refund. Further information about these type of ‘phishing’ email can be found on the HMRC website: https://www.gov.uk/topic/dealing-with-hmrc/phishing-scams

Please continue with the normal advice that “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. More information is available on the Trading Standards Website: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/trading-standards/finding-a-trader/rogue-traders-scams-and-cold-callers   If anyone would like to report a scam (that is not coronavirus related) or find out about other scams they can do by contacting Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime or by phoning on 0300 124 2040.

South Western Railway, Managing Director update regarding service

Following the latest Government advice for all but essential key workers to stay at home, we have today made a number of changes which will affect how we operate and interact with our customers over the coming weeks.

We have a vital role to play in keeping trains running so key workers like doctors and nurses can get to and from work. Therefore, our operational colleagues such as drivers, guards and signallers are still working to ensure that those who need to travel, can.

However, following the latest advice, other non-operational colleagues have been told to work from home to support the country’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. As a result, today we have temporarily:

·         Closed the majority of our ticket offices – Waterloo, Clapham Jct, Richmond, Wimbledon, Surbiton, Woking, Guildford, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Salisbury, Southampton Ctl and Bournemouth ticket office will remain open but will only accept card payments.

·         Removed catering from our trains

·         Closed our lost property office

·         Stopped accepting cash payments at our ticket machines – customers can still continue to buy tickets online and on the SWR app.

·         Restricted the operations of our contact centre – which will have a significant impact on our ability to process delay-repay applications.

We know this will be frustrating for many of our customers, we don’t take decisions such as these lightly, but we believe these are the right actions to take in the current situation and the challenges the country is facing and will ensure we meet our own obligations to protect our colleagues at SWR.

These are however interim arrangements, and we are urgently looking at alternative ways of handling refunds and delay-repay applications that fall in line with the Government’s advice.

Our priority is now on keeping our trains running for the doctors, nurses, supermarket workers, police and other essential service workers who have to still get to work. We urge our customers to follow the Government’s advice and not travel on our trains if they are not a key worker.

Where passengers do have to still travel, and need assistance or advice:

·         Guards will still be on our trains

·         Colleagues will still be available at most stations

·         Our Twitter team will be able to provide essential journey information

·         Our website will have the latest information at southwesternrailway.com/coronavirus

·         Train time information can still be found at nationalrail.co.uk

Whilst our Twitter team will be providing essential journey information, they will not be able to respond to non-essential enquiries such as those regarding refunds. We need to make sure they are able to provide essential journey information to key workers as a priority.

Additionally, whilst guards and station colleagues will still be on our trains and at our stations, we are advising them to keep a safe social distance and minimise interactions with customers. They will of course be on hand to help, especially where something does not look right, so too will our Rail Community Officers and British Transport Police who are contactable by texting on 61016 or phoning 0800 405 040. We all have a vital role in beating this pandemic and urge everyone to help us to keep our trains running for key workers and not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.

Fake Coronavirus Testing

Please see information below from Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards regarding Fake Coronavirus Testing. This information has been to sent to all Surrey County Councillors.

Background 

As the Coronavirus has continued to spread several different scams have arisen. In the last few days fake coronavirus test kits have been offered for sale via the internet.  We have also received intelligence that unscrupulous individuals are door knocking offering to sell fake coronavirus testing kits.

Trading Standards Response

Trading Standards are providing advice and messages via all of our social media platforms, on our website, by email and by direct phone calls to those residents identified as the most vulnerable to scams. Letters will also be sent to this group in the next few days.

The Surrey County Council “Coronavirus – Information and Advice” webpages include information from Trading Standards to encourage people to be aware of scams and a link to further information on the Trading Standards web pages under “staying connected”. Links below.

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus/community-support/stay-connected

In addition to putting out general messages about the range of scams which might be associated with coronavirus, where Trading Standards receive information that a door to door scam is happening in a specific area we have plans in place to immediately telephone any known vulnerable people living in the vicinity to warn them of the potential scam.

We are working in partnership with Surrey Police to disrupt and prevent door to door selling, and we will continue to investigate crimes of fraud, especially where they relate to coronavirus and the heightened fears associated with it.

In partnership with Surrey Fire and Rescue we are compiling a list of approved and trusted volunteers who will be able to assist with prevention and safeguarding for our most vulnerable and isolated residents. This list will be published in the coming days on our website. For those residents who do not have access to the internet, nor use social media we will be contacting them by phone or post to share details of trusted and approved volunteers.

Who to Contact?

Concerned residents and councillors with information about these incidents are being asked to contact Trading Standards directly. Email is preferable via trading.standards@surreycc.gov.uk or by phone on 01296 388788.

Coronavirus Updates for Haslemere

As Surrey County Councillor for Haslemere, I am receiving updates about Covid-19 from various organisations. Here is a summary of updates for services affecting Haslemere.

HASLEMERE HELP

A community group in Haslemere has been set up to help those in self isolation. This help can be offered for anything including shopping, posting mail, prescription collections or simply a friendly phone call.  The number to call is 07873 383954. There is also a Facebook page where you can ask for help or offer to volunteer. www.facebook.com/haslemerehelp . The e-mail address is haslemerehelp@gmail.com.

If you are a member of a residents’ association, this is a template you could use to offer support in your street.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE continue to support our local businesses. They are the lifeblood of the town. Many are changing the way they are doing business in order to deliver goods whilst keep residents safe.

HASLEMERE FOOD BANK is providing vital support for families in need. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider adding one or two items in your shop or dropping off donations at The Methodist Church on Wednesdays or Fridays between 10am and 12pm. Items include shampoo, toilet rolls, custard, couscous, milk, drinking chocolate, tinned vegetables (peas, carrots, corn), tinned meat, tinned spaghetti, tinned pasta (ravioli, macaroni), tinned fruit, coffee. tinned soup. Cereal is in over-supply at the food bank and hard to store so, please do not buy this item for now. Contact the food bank here.

GOVERNMENT ADVICE

Link: Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL

Dedicated Surrey County Council Coronavirus website

Haslemere Library has closed due to its having a deep clean and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Online services remain open. Library card holders can access:

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

Covid-19: Joint statement from Waverley’s political leaders and the chief executive, issued today.

The political leaders and the chief executive of Waverley Borough Council have agreed to use its resources to prioritise the immediate health, wellbeing and safety of local residents – especially the vulnerable – in its plan to support the community through the Coronavirus challenge.

The council’s benefits, community meals, support to local businesses, homelessness, critical housing tenant support, and waste collection services will be prioritised to ensure that those who are most in need are supported during this difficult time for the borough, and for the nation.

We recognise the hardship facing our borough’s struggling businesses and will implement the new scheme for business rate relief as soon as we have the Government’s criteria.

We will also prioritise our support to the National Health Service and to Surrey County Council, with its responsibilities for adult and child care services. We welcome Surrey County Council’s decision to establish a single contact centre for vulnerable people. We will work with them and the voluntary sector to ensure its effectiveness – ensuring those people who kindly offer their time and support to help those in need do so in a safe and co-ordinated way.

To do all this, those aspects of the council’s business that do not directly support this immediate objective will be suspended or scaled down, so that staff can be deployed to our critical priority services. This means our work on Part 2 of the Local Plan, leisure centre refurbishment plans and formal committee meetings will be deferred until 30 June. While the council remains hard at work, with many of our staff working from home, the offices at The Burys in Godalming will be closed to the general public from Monday, 23 March, with special provision for homelessness and welfare visits. The Memorial Hall in Farnham and the Borough Hall in Godalming are also closed.

Further detail and decisions about council services and support will follow in the coming days. Check our website for the latest updates: www.waverley.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The council’s Executive and Opposition leaders will continue to teleconference regularly with the senior officers as we implement our response and recovery plans.

We are conscious that our staff members and our councillors are also personally feeling the impact of the virus and the national recovery plan, just as our residents are. As a consequence, our capacity is reduced and will face further challenges in the coming weeks. We are proud of our staff and councillor team, and grateful for the diligent, hard work they have already put into tackling Coronavirus and supporting the people of Waverley.

SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY

South Western Railway publishes a revised timetable from 23 March 2020, Form the MD:

SWR will reduce the number of services it will be running from Monday 23 March, following the Government’s announcement urging people to avoid all but essential travel in order to help limit the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

The spread of the COVID-19 means like at most other organisations, more of our staff are having to follow advice to stay at home unwell and self-isolate for up to 14 days.

By reducing the number of trains running, we can focus on ensuring a reliable timetable for passengers who still have to travel, especially healthcare professionals, police and fire service workers.

We are asking all passengers to follow the Government’s advice to avoid all but essential travel.  But those passengers who do have to use our services should check before they travel.

Our colleagues on the front line are working very hard to ensure that those who need to travel get to where they need to be, when they need to be there, and the rest of the business is focusing on supporting them.  

For more information about what else we’re doing to help stop the spread of coronavirus, please visit: www.southwesternrailway.com/coronavirus

Thank you in advance for your support during these very difficult times.

Joint statement on coronavirus cases in Surrey and West Sussex

In the last half hour, I have received the statement below from the Head of Surrey County Council’s communications team:

This afternoon the Chief Medical Officer for England announced three further patients who were “close contacts of a known case”, had tested positive for COVID-19. These relate to a man who tested positive in Surrey on Friday 28 February so brings the total number of confirmed cases in Surrey to two. We can also confirm the other two cases in this family cluster have been confirmed in West Sussex. All cases are adults and are not health workers.

Ruth Hutchinson, Interim Director of Public Health for Surrey County Council, and Anna Raleigh, Director of Public Health for West Sussex County Council, have issued a joint statement following the Chief Medical Officer’s update.

They said: “We are working closely together and with Public Health England and the NHS to make sure everything possible is being done to protect people in our respective counties and minimise the spread of the virus.

“We’re receiving regular updates from colleagues at Public Health England who are already making good progress in contacting anyone who has been in close contact with the individuals to provide them with advice about what to do if they start to feel unwell, and how to manage if they are told to self-isolate.

“This work is a key way of minimising any risk to them and the wider public and while this is fast-moving situation we would like to reassure everyone that our county councils and health colleagues are well-prepared and doing all we can to minimise the chances of further cases.

“Anyone who is not contacted directly by PHE should continue to go about their life as normal but take extra care to follow public health advice on simple steps we can all take to help reduce the risk of infection.”

Dr James Mapstone, Acting Regional Director (South of England) for Public Health England, added: “PHE is providing specialist advice to local authority partners around two confirmed cases in Surrey and two in West Sussex. The four cases are part of an adult family cluster. We are aware of the people they have been in contact with and we are making contact with those people to issue appropriate advice and steps to take if they start to feel unwell.”

Background

  • The confirmed cases are not GPs or health workers. Contact tracing is underway and that includes testing some people. It is not surprising that a GP surgery has closed for cleaning as that is part of the primary care guidance.
  • The tracing and managing of contacts who have had significant exposure to confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus is being co-ordinated by Public Health England.
  • The process starts with a predetermined list of information being collected on each patient. This includes details of any places visited following the onset of symptoms or, in the case of travellers, since they arrived in the UK.
  • This is either done by the clinician caring for the patient or in conjunction with them. Translation services will used if needed to ensure the information is as accurate as possible.
  • Information is also collected about significant contacts – those people in close contact with the case while symptomatic, such household members, fellow travellers etc.
  • Using the available information, all close contacts of the case will be assessed and either categorised into high or low risk.  All contacts will be provided with health advice about symptoms and given emergency contact details to use if they develop symptoms in the 14 days after the exposure occurred.
  • Those considered to be at higher risk will have a verbal assessment of their health and their health will be monitored on a daily basis and they will asked to self-isolate.  Should any of the group report symptoms they will be assessed and offered testing in line with current guidance.

PHE recently used contact tracing successfully in Brighton to track all know cases and prevent any further cases.

If I live in Surrey or West Sussex am I at extra risk because of the recent cases?

  • We ensure that someone with coronavirus doesn’t put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with through contact tracing.
  • Contact tracing is a fundamental part of outbreak control that’s used by public health professionals around the world.
  • If a person tests positive for coronavirus, we speak to the patient to identify anyone who has had close contact with them during the time they are considered to be infectious and go all out to find these people as soon as possible.
  • Once we have contacted them we can then give them the advice they need. If they are in groups considered to be a higher risk, we make sure that we follow up with them daily to see how they are.  If they become unwell we are then able to assess them quickly and take appropriate action.

What does self-isolation mean for people who don’t have symptoms?

  • Just like when you have the flu, individuals should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas. Where possible, individuals should avoid having visitors to their home but it is ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food. Individuals should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after their return from Wuhan.
  • Individuals should monitor their symptoms and call NHS 111 (or your national alternative) if they develop any of the following symptoms – fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

There is also an NHS link which contains hygiene and prevention advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We’re currently not accepting interview bids on this.

Original statement published on Surrey County Council’s website here.

Coronavirus update from Surrey’s Director of Public Health

I have been liaising over the last 24 hours with Surrey County Council’s leadership and through them Public Health England (PHE). Below is the latest update, also published here on Surrey County Council’s website. I am hoping to be able to supply more information and guidance for residents in Haslemere as soon as possible – but this is dependent on information Public Health England is able to provide. Statement follows:

Ruth Hutchinson, Interim Director of Public Health for Surrey County Council, said: “I have spoken to colleagues at Public Health England this morning and will remain in continuous contact while we manage the situation in Surrey.

“PHE updated me on their work and steps they have taken since the case was confirmed. They are already urgently contacting anyone that has been in close contact with the individual to provide them with advice about what to do if they start to feel unwell, and how to manage if they are told to self-isolate.

“This vital work will continue throughout the weekend and is a tried and tested method that ensures we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.

“Anyone who is not contacted directly by PHE should continue to go about their life as normal but take extra care to follow public health advice on simple steps we can all take to help reduce the risk of infection.

“I appreciate that news like this can be a cause for concern, so I would reassure everyone that Surrey County Council, together with the NHS and PHE is taking every necessary measure to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”

Background

  • The tracing and managing of contacts who have had significant exposure to confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus is being co-ordinated by Public Health England.
  • The process starts with a predetermined list of information being collected on each patient. This includes details of any places visited following the onset of symptoms or, in the case of travellers, since they arrived in the UK.
  • This is either done by the clinician caring for the patient or in conjunction with them. Translation services will be used if needed to ensure the information is as accurate as possible.
  • Information is also collected about significant contacts – those people in close contact with the case while symptomatic, such household members, fellow travellers etc.
  • Using the available information, all close contacts of the case will be assessed and either categorised into high or low risk.  All contacts will be provided with health advice about symptoms and given emergency contact details to use if they develop symptoms in the 14 days after the exposure occurred.
  • Those considered to be at higher risk will have a verbal assessment of their health and their health will be monitored on a daily basis and they will asked to self-isolate.  Should any of the group report symptoms they will be assessed and offered testing in line with current guidance.

PHE recently used contact tracing successfully in Brighton to track all known cases and prevent any further cases.

If I live in Surrey am I at extra risk because of the recent cases?

  • We ensure that someone with coronavirus doesn’t put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with through contact tracing.
  • Contact tracing is a fundamental part of outbreak control that’s used by public health professionals around the world.
  • If a person tests positive for coronavirus, we speak to the patient to identify anyone who has had close contact with them during the time they are considered to be infectious and go all out to find these people as soon as possible.
  • Once we have contacted them we can then give them the advice they need. If they are in groups considered to be a higher risk, we make sure that we follow up with them daily to see how they are.  If they become unwell we are then able to assess them quickly and take appropriate action.

What does self-isolation mean for people who don’t have symptoms?

  • Just like when you have the flu, individuals should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas. Where possible, individuals should avoid having visitors to their home but it is ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food. Individuals should not use public transport or taxis until 14 days after their return from Wuhan.
  •  Individuals should monitor their symptoms and call NHS 111 (or your national alternative) if they develop any of the following symptoms – fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

There is also an NHS link which contains hygiene and prevention advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We’re currently not accepting interview bids on this.

Public Health England and Surrey County Council statement on confirmed COVID-19 case in Surrey

This evening, the BBC reported a patient at Haslemere Health Centre (which has been closed for “deep cleaning” since this morning) is the first to be reported to be infected with the coronavirus in the UK. BBC article here.

Surrey County Council is continuing to work together with partners including Public Health England (PHE) across Surrey and the UK to monitor and ensure preparedness for the Coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Alison Barnett, Centre Director, Public Health England South East, said:

“Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19. One of the latest cases is a resident of Surrey and we’re working closely with NHS colleagues in that area as well as Surrey County Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

Interim Director of Public Health for Surrey County Council Ruth Hutchinson said:

Surrey County Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Surrey are protected.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected countries and are feeling unwell, you should phone the NHS 111 helpline for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Notes to Editors

  • Surrey County Council, PHE and the NHS are well prepared to deal with coronavirus. Our priority is to safeguard local communities which sometimes involves taking preventative measures to help reduce the risk of further cases.
  • We cannot comment further on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.
  • Details on testing are published daily at 2pm and includes a breakdown of negative and positive tests https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
  • For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19)

PHE https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/