Derbyshire’s Director for Public Health Dean Wallace is urging people who live and work in Long Eaton not to let their guard down and get tested regularly for Covid-19 following a large outbreak in a school.
More than 150 people with a direct link to Wilsthorpe Academy have tested positive for the virus and Derbyshire County Council has also been notified of a further 17 confirmed cases at other schools in the area.
Mr Wallace praised members of the community for their response after more than 2,000 people with a direct link to the school turned out to get a PCR test in recent days in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading further.
But he urged local residents and businesses to stick to social distancing and other measures alongside regular testing to get the virus under control in the run-up to Government relaxing current restrictions next week as part of its roadmap out of lockdown.
He said: “The significant outbreak of Covid-19 at Wilsthorpe Academy continues to affect case numbers in the area. As Covid rates across Derbyshire have been relatively low, any increase in numbers can have a large impact on the figures for that area.
“I understand this will cause concern, but I’d like to reassure residents that we continue to work closely with the school and Public Health England to minimise the spread.
“We’re doing everything we can to quickly follow up new positive cases and their close contacts and advise them of the importance of self-isolating to ensure it does not become sustained community transmission.
“I’d also like to thank the local community for their support with more than 2,000 people with a direct link to the school answering our call to get a PCR test over the past four days.
“There is no evidence at present to suggest this is a new variant or variant of concern, although we continue to monitor the situation closely. We are continuing to investigate the potential causes of this outbreak and we’re asking everyone in the community to get tested regularly as 1 in 3 people who have the virus do not have symptoms and could be spreading it unknowingly.”
Tests are available for people without symptoms at the county council’s Community Testing centre inside West Park Leisure Centre on Wilsthorpe Road. It is open Monday to Friday from 7.45am to 7pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 7.45am to 4pm and there’s no need to book.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms or who has got a positive result from a lateral flow test should self-isolate immediately but may leave the house to take a confirmatory PCR test – tests that are sent to a laboratory.
A mobile PCR testing station has been set up in the car park outside the leisure centre. This drive-through testing station is open 9am-3pm daily and will be available until at least Monday 17th May. There is also a walk-in facility for anyone who does not have a car. These tests are by appointment only. You can book a PCR test at this site or order a test to be delivered to your home online at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring NHS 119.
Mr Wallace added: “This outbreak is a timely reminder that Covid hadn’t gone away and that people should continue to follow government guidance to stay apart, wash hands regularly and wear a face covering unless exempt.
“I know everyone is excited about the prospect of being able to hug their relatives from next week but we know that Covid-19 thrives when we are together so I’d urge everyone to use their judgement to keep everyone safe.”