People in a County Durham village are being thanked for their role in preventing the further spread of coronavirus in the community.
Durham County Council is thanking residents of Stanley for helping to reduce the spread of the virus, following a number of confirmed cases linked to the Stanley Empire Club.
Staff from the council have been working with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace since the first suspected cases came to light, to contact as many people as possible who visited the club on 9, 10 and 11 August. They've been advised to self-isolate to reduce the risk of them spreading the virus, and to be tested if they have symptoms.
The Council say that so far, more than three quarters of people who attended the club have been contacted and now self-isolating. In the majority of instances, they had already seen the information and acted straight away to self-isolate.
They've also established that there has been a further seven linked cases to the eight reported, bringing the total to 15 confirmed cases linked to the club.
Director of Public Health for County Durham Amanda Healy said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone in Stanley for the crucial role they are continuing to play in reducing the risk of coronavirus spreading in the community.
“We fully appreciate that talk of 15 cases linked to the club may worry people but I would stress that these are existing cases we have found through our enquiries and not new unrelated cases. I can also confirm we have had no new cases linked to the club come to light since Monday.
“We are pleased Test and Trace has been able to reach such a high proportion of people through our enquiries but we want to reach all of them and will continue with our enquiries.
“We would like to thank those people who responded to the public appeal to self-isolate before being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.”
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, the council’s Cabinet member for adult and health services added: “The fact we have reached so many people and know that all of them are self-isolating is fantastic as we know this means there is now reduced risk of further spread of the virus.
“And again we would like to say thank you to those who are self-isolating and those who have helped raise awareness of the need to do so – even by something like sharing our social media posts.
"We know from Test and Trace that the majority of the people contacted had already begun self-isolating as a result of the information we have issued at the weekend and which residents and businesses have helped share. These efforts really are making a difference in reducing the risk of further cases in Stanley.”
In order to increase access to coronavirus testing, the council has arranged for a mobile testing unit to be located in Stanley from tomorrow Friday, 21 August. Testing will be available for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus. These are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell.
The mobile testing unit will be located at the car park at the rear of the Empire Club for 14 days from 10.30am to 3.30pm daily.
People are advised to book tests in advance online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested or by phoning 119.
Mrs Healy added: “The testing unit is available for any residents in County Durham who have symptoms, as part of the testing network in the county. We are aware local residents may have concerns and we want to ensure it is as easy as possible for anyone locally who has symptoms to be tested. There are no indications of any further outbreaks in the area.”
The council has been providing advice to the local community and has contacted various licensed premises and their customers to offer support. Posters have been put up reminding people how to stay safe during the pandemic and giving advice to local businesses on how to protect staff and customers.
Cllr Hovvels added: “It is vital that we all remember that the power to protect our loved ones, friends and neighbours lies in all of our hands. If we all follow the simple steps of Hands, Face, Space – washing our hands often for 20 seconds, covering our face in public buildings and staying two metres apart when possible – then we will all be doing our bit to halt the spread of this virus.
“Coronavirus could hit any of us, but by working together to stay safe we can limit its impact.”
Residents are reminded that if they have any symptoms of coronavirus they should immediately self-isolate and get a test.