A better Medway
Published: Saturday, 7th March 2020

Specialists from Public Health England (PHE) are working with Medway Council and NHS colleagues following two confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Both cases are linked to the initial case in Kent.

Alison Barnett, Centre Director for Public Health England South East, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the latest confirmed case of COVID-19. These cases are residents of Medway. 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.”

Working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading

James Williams, Director of Public Health for Medway Council, said: “Medway Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Medway are protected.

“If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed cases you do not need to take any action at this time.”

Health and local authorities are appealing for people to follow national Government guidance to prevent further spread of the illness and limit the numbers affected.

This guidance includes taking basic hygiene precautions as the best way of significantly reducing the chances of spreading any virus: sneeze or cough into a tissue, bin it, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face unless you’ve just washed your hands.

Current evidence indicates that most cases appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. Older residents or those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions may experience more severe symptoms.

Protect yourself and your family by washing your hands regularly 

James Williams added: “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

The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

Self-isolation means you should:

  • stay at home
  • not go to work, school or public places
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
  • try to avoid visitors to your home – it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food

You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection. Find out more about the symptoms and steps to take.

Find out the latest advice on travellers returning from affected areas, plus guidance to schools and care homes.

Details on testing are published daily at 2pm and includes a breakdown of negative and positive tests.

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