Last week, we issued the first set of data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and rates across Northamptonshire. Each week this data will be released with key findings and associated guidance.
The overall picture for Northamptonshire has not changed significantly since last week, with a small increase in overall infections across the county. As reported earlier in the week, we continue to see higher rates of infection in the boroughs of Northampton and Kettering than in other districts and boroughs, with both areas having higher than average rates compared to the Northamptonshire, regional and national average.
Last week we explained that outbreaks within settings may affect figures in local areas. For example, an outbreak in a care home where multiple residents would be registered at the same address might result in higher numbers for a small area. Outbreaks can occur in many settings, and the job of the multi-agency Infection Prevention and Control team, alongside organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive and Environmental Health Teams is to investigate any factors that may increase the risk of virus transmission.
Sometimes this can be related to workplace procedures such social distancing or use of PPE, other times it could be linked to behaviour of employees in their homes, social lives or on their way to and from work. Where any behaviour or procedure can be improved to prevent further spread of the virus, the relevant team will work with that setting to implement any new recommendations, provide advice and guidance and support the setting with an action plan.
Rida Elkheir, Consultant in Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, says: “We have learnt this week from a couple of settings where employees who have been car sharing to get to and from their place of work have tested positive for COVID-19. We have worked with the settings to ensure those testing positive for COVID-19 have followed self-isolation guidance and that contact tracing procedures have been completed. As a result, we have issued public guidance on measures to take if car sharing is unavoidable, such as wearing face coverings, keeping windows open and spacing out within the car.
“We will continue to monitor local infection rates very closely and learn from outbreaks and communicate our findings in order to ensure that the public and the relevant settings are supported in implementing procedures that minimise risk of further transmission.
“Wherever you live in our county, it remains hugely important to continue to follow the guidance to keep two metres apart from others outside your household wherever possible and wash your hands regularly.
“This week we have also seen increased guidance around the wearing of face coverings in shops and supermarkets. Where everyone within a setting is wearing a face covering, everyone is better protected. I cannot stress how significant individual actions are in keeping everyone safe and protected and would like to thank the residents of Northamptonshire for continuing to follow the guidance.”
Anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms (high temperature, continuous cough or loss of / 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.
For more information please see the coronavirus guidance and advice webpage.