Northampton coronavirus update from public health officials at weekly press conference

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Last update: Friday August 14, 2020, 5:06 p.m.

  • Weekly press conference by public health officials on the current state of the coronavirus in Northampton
  • Outbreak of 292 positive Covid-19 cases at the Greencore food factory in the Moulton Park industrial zone
  • Northampton remains a ‘matter of concern’ for coronavirus cases, according to Public Health England
  • Specific advice for residents, including taking a test without symptoms of Covid-19, avoiding carpooling and public transport, limiting contact with other households

Here is our story from today’s press conference

Welcome to the Chronicle and Echoes Live blog post from the weekly press conference on the state of the coronavirus in Northampton by public health officials today (Friday 14 August).

Northamptonshire County Council will provide an update on the number of Covid-19 cases in the county and answer questions from reporters.

Northampton City Council Chief Jonathan Nunn, County Council Transport, Highways and Environment Cabinet Member Ian Morris and County Council Public Health Director Lucy Wightman are expected to lead the conference Press.

The press conference comes as 292 positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed at the Greencore food factory at Moulton Park Industrial Estate and Northampton remains a ‘matter of concern’ for the Covid-19 surveillance team at Public Health England.

Specific advice has been issued for residents of Northampton, including taking a test even if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, avoiding car sharing and public transport, limiting contact with other households and respecting rules. social distancing guidelines.

The press conference starts at 3 p.m. For the latest news, remember to refresh your browser manually as this blog does not update automatically.

Okay, we start now – coming statements from various officials and advisers to come.

“All of Northamptonshire has a higher rate than the UK average”

Public health director Lucy Wightman begins by saying Northampton is still a concern, but the county as a whole now has a higher rate of coronavirus cases than the rest of England.

A total of 3,743 cases have been recorded in Northants, including 151 in the week leading up to Sunday August 9. Of these, 85 were in Northampton.

“Northamptonshire as a whole is really a very difficult area,” she said.

The focus is still on city centers and outbreaks, like the one in Greencore, but there are also 11 others in nursing homes.

Northampton City Council Chief Jonathan Nunn began by saying the Greencore outbreak was a ‘disaster’ for the city’s Covid-19 statistics and was of national significance.

He sent a message to anyone who got on a bus in Northampton that they had to wear a mask and should not be allowed to board the bus if they refused.

“The message to bus passengers is simple – no mask, no ride,” he said.

“It is absolutely essential that they wear a mask when getting on and off the bus.”

Cllr Nunn said bus drivers shouldn’t feel uncomfortable refusing to let people get on buses and urged other passengers to support them.

He added that he was amazed at the number of people who expressed concern about bus stops and urged people to continue to do so.

Concern about the nighttime economy – leading council

Cllr Nunn switched to the hospitality industry, saying people feared people would contract coronavirus while using the nighttime economy in Northampton.

He said all sites that provide tracking and traceability must do so and customers must participate in this program as well.

Turning to the prospect of the Northampton lockdown, Cllr Nunn said: “Regarding this fork that I mentioned in previous weeks, I still believe that if we follow the guidelines rigorously, we can still avoid this local lockdown.

“Let’s be completely honest, the 293 cases of this recent outbreak are absolutely terrible.

“Then the reality is there is some mitigation in that it’s around a factory rather than just scattered around the community. “

“We need the people of Northamptonshire to work with us”

County Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways and Environment Ian Morris reiterated the importance of getting tested if you have symptoms or feel anxious about your meetings.

“We are doing everything we can, but we need the people of Northamptonshire to work with us,” he added.

Cllr Nunn said there were also plenty of ‘boots on the ground’ to tackle the Greencore outbreak, such as the new Moulton Park Industrial Estate Test Center, visiting residents who live nearby, including many have tested positive, as well as 11 car showrooms.

Greencore: Employees socializing outside of work are the main cause of Covid-19 cases

Regarding Greencore, Ms Wightman said the company has been “exemplary” in looking after its people.

The outbreak was discovered by many employees who tested positive by the NHS – 79 in total – before hiring testing company Randox tested all 1,219 staff, which found 213 cases, many of whom were asymptomatic.

“It shows how difficult it is to find cases and reduce their spread,” she said.

Ms Wightman said the trends they found were that about 60% of employees share a car with Greencore and other companies in Moulton Park together, while most of the rest use public transportation.

Additionally, many employees like multiple occupancy houses (HMOs), which can increase the spread of the virus, and they often socialize together after work, which is the main cause of the increase, she said. declared.

“We will not fear the lockdown”

While Cllr Nunn said he was very concerned that Northampton was in a local lockdown, he insisted the “moral dilemma” will not be avoided.

The head of the council said there is yet another step before Public Health England locks the city out, which is “an area of ​​heightened support”, but local authorities cannot do much. thing to stop it.

But he doesn’t want the city to be stranded because of the devastating effects it would have on its economy, so he urged residents to heed the advice.

Columnist Alastair Ulke asks if things could have been done differently in Greencore.

Ms Wightman said yes, and they weren’t necessarily prepared for people not to comply.

“Everyone must participate in this”

Ms Wightman said the county council will be running its own track and trace system starting next week.

Cllr Nunn concludes the press conference by saying that the Greencore outbreak has shown authorities and media have not scared the prospect of a local lockdown.

He added that it would be easy to blame Greencore for the outbreak, but they have been found to be Covid compliant, so it is up to workers and the public to comply as well.

Cllr Nunn said employees often work seven to eight hour shifts every hour and there may be language barriers.

“But it’s a matter of compliance. More Greencores will lock us out, so if we all follow that advice and tell people on the bus, “you can’t get on or sit near me without a mask,” the better off we’ll be, “he m ‘said.

“So everyone has to come together with this so that we can bring this terrible thing down to national averages and even lower in Northampton.”

Thank you for watching our live coverage of today’s coronavirus press conference. We will be posting a recap article shortly, which will be posted here and on our social media pages. We will be back next week!

Advice on social distancing in Northamptonshire

Here are the latest tips on social distancing in Northamptonshire

  • Limit contact with other people outside your home or bubble
  • Work from home if you can
  • Stand 2 meters away from others if possible and use a face mask within 2 meters of each other
  • Avoid using public transport or carpooling and wear a face mask if you cannot avoid this
  • If you have symptoms of Covid-19, even mild ones, stay home, self-isolate and get tested
  • Avoid meeting people outside your home or blowing bubbles in an indoor space
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for 20 seconds each time
  • Don’t share articles with other people outside of your household or bubble
  • If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate, stay home for 14 days, if you are developing systems, get tested

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