Coronavirus: Public Health Wales update for Thursday


July 02, 2020

41 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Wales during the past 24 hours according to the latest figures from Public Health Wales. 26 of these cases have been in North Wales.

Sadly 8 new deaths have been recorded across Wales - a total so far of 1,524 deaths.

Wrexham has seen 15 new cases with 6 in the Flintshire area. Wrexham has been impacted recently by a factory outbreak in the area although it is not know whether these new cases are connected.

Locally Conwy and Denbighshire has recorded two new cases each.

Dr Christopher Johnson, Consultant in Health Protection at Public Health Wales and Chair of the Outbreak Control Team (OCT) said:

“The multi-agency team managing the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) associated with Rowan Foods Ltd in Wrexham has recorded a total of 283 positive cases of infection in the workforce since 8 June 2020.

“We have previously asked people who work at the site and couldn’t attend for on-site sampling to come forward for testing, and they have. We are reporting a total increase of 46 cases recorded since Monday, but this does not mean that we have seen a jump in the level of infection in the last 48 hours. The majority of the increase is as a result of checking on-site sampling with results collected through community, home and drive-through testing centres, not new spread of infection.

“I want to reassure the workforce and wider community that the results we have identified are entirely what we would expect to see when a focused and robust testing regime is put in place.

“The OCT has received assurance from the employer and the Health & Safety Executive that the factory is taking all necessary precautions to protect its workforce. There continues to be no evidence that the infection is factory-based.

“The OCT will also continue to urge any remaining workers at the site who have not yet taken up the offer of testing to do so. We would also urge everyone to maintain two metres social distancing when outside of the home, to practice good hand hygiene and continue to self-isolate if they are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19.”

In addition, Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:

“A total of 134 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in relation to the outbreak in the workforce associated with the Kepak Merthyr workforce.

“Investigations in this cluster continue, and updates will be issued in the coming days.

“The Food Standards Agency advise that it is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

“It is timely to remind everyone that we all have a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus by always sticking to social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others and washing hands regularly.

“Public Health Wales welcomes the relaxation of lockdown measures, but reminds the public that we are not yet back to business as usual.

“We would urge members of the public to continue to stay local and avoid visiting locations, such as beaches, where proper social distancing is impossible to achieve.

“While shopping, members of the public should use contactless payment where possible, and reduce contact with goods. Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces. Avoid touching your face.

“Further relaxation of lockdown measures, including the lifting of the restriction on non-essential travel to around five miles, is planned for Monday 6 July, providing that community transmission continues to reduce.

“It is important to note that until a further announcement is made by Welsh Government, then the current measures remain in place - as a general rule, people should not travel more than five miles from home. This will help to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading as people begin to travel more.

“Future relaxation of lockdown measures will also be dependent on everyone following advice set out in the ‘Test, Trace, Protect’ strategy, including self-isolating when required. Complying with social distancing and hygiene measures remains extremely important.

“Revised lockdown arrangements also apply to people in Wales who have been told to ‘shield’ from the virus. They are able to go outside and meet people from another household, provided they keep a two-metre distance.

“Contact tracing continues in Wales as part of the Welsh Government’s ‘Test, Trace, Protect’ strategy. Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who have come in contact with an individual with Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to prevent the risk of others spreading the infection in our communities.

“Anyone who has a positive Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) test will be contacted by a team of contact tracers, and asked for details of everyone they have had close contact with while they have had symptoms.

“Please keep a note of your activities so you can easily remember your whereabouts on a given day, along with who you were in contact with. This is for everyone’s benefit and we are grateful for your continued cooperation.

“If you are asked to self-isolate, you should also comply with this request to prevent further spread of the virus.

“You do not need to have any concerns about providing names to the tracing team. Tracers are trained staff and personal information that you provide will handled in line with data protection regulations and will not be shared widely.

“Information about the symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to look out for is available on the Public Health Wales website, or members of the public can use the NHS Wales symptom checker.

“Anyone experiencing Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms can now apply for a home testing kit using the new UK online portal. For further information and a link to the booking website, visit: www.gov.wales/coronavirus or www.llyw.cymru/coronafeirws. This is supported by a national 119 phone service, through which people can also order a home test.

“Anyone with a suspected coronavirus illness should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.

“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.