06/03/20 - Update on COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) from Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, Barnsley Council

We were expecting we would see cases of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in Barnsley at some stage, and we can confirm we have two cases in Barnsley. 

The two cases are unrelated and contracted the virus outside of the borough.

We send our best wishes to the individuals and their families as they continue their recovery.

I want to reassure residents that Public Health England have contacted anyone who has been in close contact with these cases, and we’re working closely with health partners to manage the situation.

As this stage, the risk of transmission is low, and I do want to emphasise to our residents that people should continue to go about their daily lives as normal. The small number of confirmed cases in the borough suggests that we’re still in a period of containment and we’re not yet seeing evidence of it spreading in the community.

We know it’s a rapidly evolving situation, so I do want to prepare residents for the possibility that we will see an increasing number of cases in Barnsley in the coming weeks or months. On this basis, we do not intend to announce new cases and we would encourage people not to speculate about individuals.

Public Health England (PHE) will publish the data numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases by upper-tier local authority, one day in arrears. You can find this information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-number-of-cases-in-england/coronavirus-covid-19-number-of-cases-in-england

We’ve been reviewing all of our council business continuity plans to make sure we are in the best possible position to respond.

There are simple but effective things people can do to avoid spreading or catching the virus, and I can’t emphasise these enough.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

If anyone is concerned about symptoms, they should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111, rather than contacting or visiting a GP or hospital.

You can find more information about COVID-19 on www.nhs.uk/coronavirus 

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