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Council issues social distancing plea following Carmarthenshire Covid cluster

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is calling on residents and visitors to take responsibility for social distancing as a cluster of positive Covid-19 cases are confirmed in the county.

The council is working with Public Health Wales to manage a number of cases identified through the national Test, Trace, Protect procedures.

The cluster is centred around a presentation evening held on Saturday August 29 at Drefach Cricket and Football Club, organised in breach of coronavirus regulations.

To date 12 people who are linked to the evening have tested positive for Covid-19 and all those who attended the event will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Contact tracers are in the process of making contact with all those who attended.

A closure notice has been served on the person responsible for the premises, meaning the club cannot re-open for at least 14 days.

The council said it is as important as ever that people recognise that the virus has not gone away, and is urging people to heed the national advice and take responsibility for keeping themselves, and others, safe.

Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “This virus has not gone away, and unless we all take responsibility for our own actions we will be back in the dreadful situation where we will have to enforce the closure of some businesses and restrict people’s access to services.

“Social distancing needs to be adhered to, people and businesses need to comply with the NHS Test, Trace, Protect programme, and everyone needs to play their part in preventing the spread of this virus. This event was organised in breach of the regulations showing a complete disregard for the wider public. Moving forward we will not hesitate to take action, including issuing closure and fixed penalty notices where sports clubs or businesses breach regulations and put the public’s health at risk.”

He added: “We are just beginning our recovery from this pandemic, and we do not want to go back to a place where we have to close our schools, restrict visits to our parks, pubs, recycling centres and more – this is the risk that organisers of such events cause in our communities.

“There is plenty of advice and guidance available from Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and on local authority websites in Carmarthenshire and other areas you may be visiting. It is your responsibility to stay up to date and take all action necessary to protect yourself and others around you.”

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales can confirm that we are responding to cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Drefach Cricket and Football Club. We manage any clusters of Coronavirus appropriately, including by providing advice around infection prevention and control, and by supporting contact tracing where required.

“We remind the public that they have a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus. They can do this by always observing social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others – washing hands regularly, and working from home if they can.”

Executive Director of Therapies and Health Sciences for Hywel Dda University Health Board Alison Shakeshaft said: “It is absolutely vital that we all abide by social distancing measures in order to protect our communities. Most important to remember is to self-isolate when asked to do so, keep 2m away from others outside of your household bubble, minimise your contacts where you can, avoid gatherings, and wash your hands regularly.

“We are working closely with the council and Public Health Wales, and this includes tracing potential contacts. Some people will be asked to undertake a test, but others will not need to be tested but will be asked to self-isolate and book a test if symptoms occur. All members of the public are reminded that if they have symptoms – that is a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of taste or smell – they should immediately self-isolate and book a test.”

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Symptomatic members of the public can apply for a test by visiting the Welsh Government website and choosing either a mass drive-through testing centre or ordering a home testing kit. Those without digital access can apply for a test by calling the free number 119 (between 7am-11pm) and people with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.

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