TWO people in Worcestershire have tested positive for coronavirus.
Dr Sue Ibbotson Centre Director Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands, confirmed the news and said PHE was in the process of contacting people who had close contact with two of the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“The two cases are residents of Worcestershire and became infected whilst in Italy.”
Anyone who has had close contacts with the patients will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days.
“This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”
It was thought the first case in the county was on Wednesday when Worcester’s JobCentre closed on Wednesday with the DWP confirming a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.
A spokesperson said the organisation was working closely with Public Health England and was contacting customers whose appointments were affected to rearrange.
But hours later the Director for Public Health in Worcestershire Dr Kathryn Cobain categorically denied there were any cases in the county.
Online speculation suggested the employee may work at the Worcester centre but not live in the county.
Following the confirmed cases Dr Cobain said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low and Worcestershire County Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Worcestershire are protected.
“If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case, you do not need to take any action at this time.”
She reiterated that good hygiene was the best prevention and there were some simple steps people could take to protect themselves and their family.
These included washing their hands regularly and thoroughly and if they cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should phone the NHS 111 helpline for further advice straight away.
“Please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital.”
There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
The UK national picture
According to the latest figures, as of today (Friday, March 13), there are 798 positive cases confirmed.
In total, 32,771 people have been tested for the virus with 31,973 proving negative.
Ten people have so far died because of COVID-19.