How Suffolk will cope with community outbreaks of coronavirus
- Credit: Archant
New guidance has been released for how people in workplaces, schools and communities will respond to concentrated outbreaks of Covid-19 in Suffolk.
Suffolk County Council’s new Local Outbreak Control Plan, which will be published today, will be triggered when there are confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus within any setting throughout the county.
It has been developed using £2.79million of government funding to protect public health and swiftly identify cases of the virus in communities.
How will the plan work?
•When a positive test for Covid-19 is returned, Public Health England will contact the confirmed case to determine what groups of people they may have been in contact with. The individual who has tested positive will be required to self-isolate for seven days
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•PHE will then feed this information down to the newly-established Suffolk Covid-19 Coordination Centre
•The centre, comprised of health experts from throughout Suffolk, will analyse data and discover whether other cases have emerged that may be linked to the first case
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•If it is determined that multiple cases are connected, people who have come into contact with them will be required to go into self-isolation
In the context of the plan, an ‘outbreak’ has been defined as two or more linked cases of Covid-19 in a high-risk environment of many people, such as a school or workplace.
Suffolk currently has 1,551 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to PHE.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions may be extended in Leicester after a recent surge of cases in the city, many of which are believed to be connected to a workplace.
Any move to enforce a further lockdown in Suffolk would ultimately lie with the UK government, though the decision would involve consultation with local health experts.
The new guidance released by the county council could be in place for between a year and 18 months.
Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, said “speed is of the essence” when trying to contain new outbreaks of the virus.
He added: “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all of our lives and sadly, we will be living with the threat of the virus for many months to come.
“Whilst this plan outlines how Suffolk will best respond to outbreaks, prevention of the virus is absolutely vital in making sure the number of new cases continues to decline.
“We must all continue to follow social distancing guidelines and ensure we wash our hands regularly to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.
“If you develop symptoms of coronavirus make sure you get a test and isolate at home.
“We all need to come together for this response.”