Coronavirus: Update (Tues, 28 July, 5pm) on Outbreak at Caravan Site in Craven Arms

28 July 2020 5:48pm

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

Officers from Shropshire Council have been in Craven Arms daily, both onsite and in the town, to offer support to residents, local businesses and the wider community.

Support for people on site includes:

  • Delivery of essential items including food, toiletries and fuel
  • Offers of testing
  • Distribution of PPE equipment, hand sanitisers and cleaning products to residents on the site
  • 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
  • Supporting residents with queries and concerns
  • Delivery of prescriptions to residents.

As of today (Tuesday, 28 July, 2020, 5pm), there have been no further positive cases identified, and the total number of confirmed cases remains at 23. Offers of testing to all residents at the site continue.

All residents were initially asked to self-isolate for 14 days as the site was being treated as a bubble, due to residents on the site being treated as close contacts to allow for contact tracing to be undertaken.

As with any outbreak, this is undertaken to help stop any immediate spread of the virus into the wider community. We have been working closely with the residents and monitoring the situation on the site on a daily basis to help reduce the risk of transmission.

Those residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 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 week.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health said: “We continue to support residents at the Long Lane site and encourage people who have tested positive to self-isolate in line with Government guidance. We are also asking all residents to follow all the measures put in place to protect both themselves and loved ones. Shropshire Council continues to arrange food and essential supplies for residents on the site.

“A number of residents are nearing the end of their period of self-isolation and will be able to leave their homes and the Long Lane site.

“At this stage in the pandemic we expect outbreaks, as the virus continues to circulate within communities locally and nationally. Whilst there have been no further confirmed positive cases as of today, we still expect to see the number of local cases increase in the following days as we await the results of further testing.

“Anyone who has a fever, persistent dry cough, or loss or change in their sense of taste or smell should go online or call 119 to arrange a test.”

Lee Chapman, a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, added: “Local outbreaks such as this are not unexpected during a pandemic and we have seen cases across the county. Our priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of all residents in our community. Shropshire Council, along with Public Health England and our NHS partners, and the police, have responded quickly to the outbreak at Long Lane and it has allowed us to understand transmission and control the spread of infection.

“I appreciate that this outbreak has caused a lot of anxiety for residents at Long Lane and I would like to thank them for their co-operation and understanding. It hasn’t been easy, but they are playing a crucial role in helping to control the spread of the infection.”

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 to reduce the 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 will be 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.

Drop-in sessions at the testing site will be available on Friday, 31 July, which means people can arrive by car but without having to book.

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 also apply for a test by via NHS Test and Trace online or by calling 119.

Health protection

Shropshire Council and our 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 were 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.

As of today (Tuesday, 28 July, 2020):

  • To date 42 people have been tested on the site and all contact tracing is being undertaken.

Community support

Shropshire Council’s Community Reassurance Team (CRT) continues to work with the residents and local businesses to offer support.

The team has been arranging food and essential supplies for residents on the site, whilst residents self-isolate. The team has 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.

David Evans, a local Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms, said: “Once again, I would like to ask people to respect the privacy of everyone at the Long Lane site during what has been a very challenging few days.

“We are aware of the concerns being shared by people in the wider community. We have seen cases across Shropshire since this pandemic began and the risk to the general public remains low. Everyone has to play their part and we encourage people to continue to wash their hands regularly, keep your distance and use face coverings to help protect yourself and others.”

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 (lines open on the weekend on Saturdays from 9am-4pm and Sundays 9am-12pm) 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.

Read more about what you can and cannot do here.