Health officials are advising the public to take precautions whilst car sharing as several confirmed cases in Northamptonshire are linked to transmission through this method.
Recent findings within Northamptonshire have identified that employees sharing cars to travel to and from a place of work may have been a contributing factor to the spread of the virus in a couple of settings.
Public Health officials are therefore advising people to avoid car sharing with those outside of their household where possible. If you are able to walk or cycle to your place of work, this is the recommended advice to follow. If you can drive independently to your place of work, this is preferable to sharing with others.
If you have no alternative, then you should take the following precautions when car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble:
- Everyone in the car should wear a face covering, including the driver
- Share the transport with the same people each time
- Keep to small groups of people at any one time
- Keep the windows open for ventilation
- Consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle. Try to face away from others
- Clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products. Make sure you clean door handles, seatbelts and other areas that people may touch
- Wash your hands thoroughly before entering and after leaving the car
Rida Elkheir, Public Health Consultant at Northamptonshire County Council said: "We understand that employees have seen many changes and had to make adjustments within the workplace, but these recent findings mean we also need to be careful about how we travel to and from work safely.
“Virus transmission can occur very quickly, particularly in larger settings. Following this guidance can reduce the risk of transmission to others and reduce the likelihood of an outbreak occurring within a workplace, which could impact many employees.
“We would also urge employers to encourage employees to follow the guidance set out on car sharing, particularly when travelling together between different locations within the county and across the region."
Do not share a car with others if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of or change in sense of smell or taste) should immediately self-isolate with their household and visit the NHS website or call 119 to find out how they can get tested.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be helped by the NHS test and trace service to identify the people they’ve recently been in contact with so they can be alerted.
People who have had close recent contact with someone with coronavirus must then self-isolate for 14 days, if they are advised to do so by the NHS test and trace service, to help contain the spread of infection.