Coronavirus: Update (Mon, 27 July, 5.30pm) on outbreak at caravan site in Craven Arms

27 July 2020 6:03pm

Issued by Shropshire Council:

Shropshire Council, along with Public Health England West Midlands, local NHS and other key partners, continues to work with residents at the Long Lane travellers site in Craven Arms, and the wider community, to contain a coronavirus outbreak at the site.

As of today (Monday, 27 July, 2020, 5.30pm), there have been two further positive cases identified, bringing the total number of cases on the site to 23. Offers of testing to all residents at the site continue, so we may see some further cases in the coming days, before infection control measures and social distancing start to take effect.

Those residents who had tested positive for coronavirus were asked to self-isolate for a minimum seven days from the time they started showing symptoms or from when they took their test. If those who have been in self-isolation for the minimum seven days are now well enough, they can finish self-isolation and leave their home. This means that initial positive cases will finish isolation this coming week.

Officers from Shropshire Council have been on site daily to offer support to residents. We are also working with the community to keep those who have tested positive for coronavirus on site, along with their immediate households.

Those who have not had close contact with symptomatic residents are able to leave their homes, in line with the latest Government guidance.

While new visitors are being discouraged, they are allowed on site in line with the latest Government guidance. All visitors and residents are being asked to follow the measures we have put in place to help protect both themselves and others.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said: "We can confirm that there have been two further positive cases today and we may see the number of cases increase in the following days as we await the results of any further testing.

"Cluster outbreaks are not uncommon during a pandemic and we would like to reassure people that the risk is still very low. We are continuing to provide Long Lane residents on-site support, as well as guidance to help keep them and their loved ones safe.

"Our priority remains protecting the health and wellbeing of all residents in our community. Anyone who has a fever, persistent dry cough, or loss or change in their sense of taste or smell should go online to arrange a test or call 119."

Lee Chapman, a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, added: "I appreciate that this will be of concern, and I want to reassure people that we have put robust measures in place since the start of the outbreak keep everyone safe.

"Where local positive cases develop, we must find them and act quickly to prevent further spread and we are grateful to Public Health England and local partners for their support.

“We ask Shropshire residents to continue to follow the national advice to protect themselves and others from the virus.

"Good hand hygiene remains the best protection against the virus, including washing your hands more regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, wearing a face covering when using public transport or going to the shops and supermarkets, and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.”

Dr Carol Chatt, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with PHE Midlands, said: "We are continuing to work closely with the local council and NHS partners to support residents on the caravan site at Craven Arms, and reduce risk of infection on site and within the wider community. Following testing of residents, we are working with public health partners on contact tracing and advising on infection control measures, to reduce risk of further spread.”

Local test site set up

To help prevent further transmission into the wider community, a test site has been established in Craven Arms for local residents.

The test site at Craven Arms Business Park was set up on Saturday, 25 July, and is open for the next two weeks every day from 10.30am to 3.30pm. Testing is by appointment only, and Craven Arms residents are being asked to book an appointment via NHS Test and Trace online or by ringing 119.

Who can get a test?

You can get a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have symptoms
  • have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery
  • as an additional measure, if you are a resident of Craven Arms and do not have symptoms, you can now also apply for a test by via NHS Test and Trace online or by calling 119.

Health protection

Shropshire Council and partners continue to provide health protection, advice, support and guidance to the residents on the site and the wider community in Craven Arms. As soon as the council was notified of the first cases, it arranged immediate testing with residents from the site to allow us to understand transmission and help control the spread of infection. Since the start of the outbreak a comprehensive range of measures have been put place, some of which include:

  • Asking all residents to remain in their homes during the period of isolation and stay within household groups, to reduce risk of spread within the site and the wider community
  • Testing of residents on the site, with daily monitoring of symptoms
  • Distribution of PPE equipment, hand sanitisers and cleaning products to residents on the site
  • Safely providing essential services and supplies
  • Providing residents with information on how to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, what symptoms to look for, and what to if they are feeling unwell, with signposting to other support.

As of today (Monday, 27 July, 2020):

  • To date 41 people have been tested on the site and all contact tracing is being undertaken.
  • Essential items including fuel have been delivered to the site
  • We have set up a test site for all residents in Craven Arms
  • We have temporarily closed the playground and outdoor gym on Newington Way to help reduce social contact and transmission
  • We are responding to community enquiries, and issuing information and advice.

Community support

Shropshire Council’s Community Reassurance Team (CRT) continues to work with the residents and local businesses to offer support. The team have been arranging food and essential supplies for residents on the site, whilst residents self-isolate. The team have been working with partners including the police, NHS, Public Health England and businesses to engage with the public and provide reassurance and support to the community.

In the last three days CRT officers have been out in the community delivering essential supplies and prescriptions to the residents on site and were joined by David Evans, a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, to offer support to residents and businesses in the town and distribute community posters to the wider community.

David Evans, a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, said: "Once again, I would to thank the Craven Arms community and businesses for their support and co-operation.

"This has understandably been an anxious time for everyone at the Long Lane site, and we ask the wider community and media to respect the privacy of all concerned.

"As the self-isolation period will be coming to an end for some people on the site, we are once again asking residents to follow the national guidance to help keep themselves and others safe. We can’t enforce this ourselves, and we continue to rely on everyone to do their part and take the necessary precautions."

Shropshire Council’s public health team would also like to remind everyone to follow social distancing advice to reduce their social interaction with other people. Good hand hygiene remains the best protection against the virus, including washing your hands more regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, wearing a face covering when using public transport or going to the shops and supermarkets, and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

For local advice and support during the pandemic (especially if you are self-isolating), call Shropshire Council’s COVID-19 helpline on 0345 678 9028 or visit our website at www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

More information about coronavirus, testing, self-isolation, and social distancing is available from the UK Government website at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Further information for media

We will be providing daily updates on the current situation at Craven Arms on our Newsroom and on social media. If there are no updates posted on Newsroom, this means there is nothing to report on that day.

We will endeavour to respond to your enquiries.

Further information

People who have been tested positive must isolate for a minimum of seven days, or until they are 48 hours without a fever (raised temperature), whichever is the longest.

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
  • Wear face coverings on public transport and when going to the shops and supermarkets and in other close settings where possible.