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Erewash – ‘Variants of concern’

People who live or work in Long Eaton are being urged to remain cautious after it was confirmed a rise in cases of Covid-19 in the area is linked, in part, to new variants of the virus.

The warning comes after two cases in the Long Eaton community were confirmed as ‘variants of concern’ – a new Indian variant and the South African variant that spread more easily.

It follows a large outbreak of Covid-19 at Wilsthorpe Academy in Long Eaton which resulted in more than 170 staff and pupils testing positive – although none of these cases have so far been found to be variants of concern.

Derbyshire’s Director of Public Health Dean Wallace has renewed his call for residents and those employed in the area to get tested whether they have symptoms or not. And as the country prepares to take another step forward on the road out of lockdown on Monday (17 May 2021), he says it remains vital that everyone in Long Eaton continues to follow the guidelines and the ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’ rules – as this is the most effective way to control the spread of all variants of coronavirus.

He said: “We understand that people will be concerned that two ‘variants of concern’ have been confirmed in Long Eaton but I’d like to reassure everyone that we’re working closely with Public Health England to minimise the spread.“There is currently no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness, are more deadly or make the current vaccines any less effective, but they do spread more easily – which is why we need everyone to be extra vigilant.“I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a test if you have symptoms, including a wider range of symptoms which people have been experiencing locally, as well as regular twice-weekly testing if you have no symptoms. We’ve put extra local testing in place to make it even easier for those who want to go to a testing centre rather than carry it out at home.

“We know one in three people who are carrying coronavirus don’t feel ill, so just because you feel ok doesn’t mean you haven’t got it – and you could be spreading it to your friends, family and work mates.“It’s also vitally important that we continue to wear face masks where required unless you are exempt, to keep on washing your hands regularly and keep two metres away from anyone not in your household.“I know people will be looking forward to regaining more freedom on Monday, but I would ask everyone in Long Eaton and across Derbyshire to take a sensible approach at this time and think carefully about the risks to their loved ones before making any decisions about mixing indoors.“It’s true that opening windows and doors helps to disperse Covid particles in the air but it’s far safer to stay outside in the open air where the risk of catching the virus is much lower.”

The main coronavirus symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. But some people in the Long Eaton area who tested positive for the virus have reported experiencing other symptoms including tummy ache, sore throat, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, feeling or being sick, headaches, joint pain, runny nose, sneezing, feeling drowsy, tiredness, muscle aches or generally feeling poorly.

People in the area are being advised to look out for these symptoms as they may be a sign that they have got coronavirus.

There is no need for people to self-isolate unless they have a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste. But anyone who does have any of the additional symptoms is advised to get a PCR test – tests that are sent to a laboratory – as a precaution.

A mobile PCR testing station has been set up in the car park outside West Park Leisure Centre on Wilsthorpe Road. This drive-through testing station is open 9am to 3pm daily and will be available until at least Wednesday 19 May 2021. There is also a walk-in facility for anyone who does not have a car. These tests are by appointment only and can be booked online at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling NHS 119.

Anyone 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 are also available for people without any symptoms at our community testing centre inside the leisure centre. This testing centre for people without any symptoms only is open Monday to Friday from 7.45am to 7pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 7.45am to 4pm. There’s no need to book these sessions, you can just turn up.Mr Wallace added: “We’ve come so far in our fight against this pandemic and the vaccine has been a real turning point, but this outbreak is a timely reminder that Covid hasn’t gone away and we still need to take precautions to protect those we love from this illness – especially those not yet vaccinated.

“Thanks to everyone continuing to follow the guidance and get tested regularly to help bring this outbreak under control. I’d urge everyone throughout Derbyshire to keep going and use your judgement to keep everyone safe.”

For more information about the outbreak in Long Eaton, including how to get tested and help if you have to self-isolate, visit derbyshire.gov.uk/wilsthorpe

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