The first case of coronavirus COVID-19 on the Isle of Wight has been confirmed, meaning Islanders need to take sensible precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus in the local community.
As previously reported by Island Echo last night, 1 person is reported to have the potentially deadly virus locally having recently travelled abroad.
This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Island – a worrying development for those living locally, especially for the elderly population and their families.
Here is everything you need to know about coronavirus, who has it and the symptoms, as well as the wider impact.
Who has coronavirus and where have they been?
Following national guidance and in line with patient confidentiality requirements no more information can currently be released concerning the identity of the individual, the current location of the individual, the treatment of the individual and previous contacts or activities of the individual.
It is known they recently travelled abroad.
Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with the person, and anybody who has not been contacted by PHE about this case does not need to take any action.
How many people have coronavirus?
As of 07:00 on 7th March 2020, just 1 confirmed case is reported on the Isle of Wight.
Nationally, 21,460 people have been tested in the UK of which 206 have been confirmed as positive for coronavirus. 2 patients have died in the UK.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a cough and shortness of breath.
The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Research shows it takes, on average, around 5 days for symptoms to start showing.
What should I do if I think I’ve got coronavirus?
- Stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people, especially older or vulnerable people
- Call NHS 111 or use the online service https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 – you will be asked questions and given advice
- You should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or St Mary’s Hospital without checking with NHS 111
Hospitals across the country have set up NHS 111 Coronavirus Pods to help test possible cases and to protect patients and staff. The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has set up this Pod in a stand-alone building that is isolated from the rest of the hospital. However, people should only make their way to the Pod if they are told to by NHS 111.
How will this effect schools on the Isle of Wight?
Advice has been sent out by the Department for Education to all 53 schools and colleges on the Island. The Local Authority has also issued guidance advising schools not to close without first taking advice from Public Health.
Will events be cancelled on the Island this year?
Currently, there is no instruction to event organisers to cancel large gatherings. However, it is a decision the Government may take if the coronavirus spreads and the country enters a new phase of tackling the virus.
Organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival – the largest event on the Island – say they intend to hold the event as planned in June.
How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
10 ways you can protect yourself, your loved ones and your community:
- Meet with household members, other relatives, friends and neighbours to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.
- If your neighbourhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbours, information, and resources. Alternatively, share phone numbers and email addresses particularly with those who are isolated or vulnerable.
- Consider establishing a ‘buddy’ system within your community to ensure everyone stays connected to COVID-19 related news, services and can receive support safely, such as essentials deliveries.
- Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
- Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy.
- Learn how to self-isolate. Guidance can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
- Create a list of local organisations that you and your neighbours can contact in the event that one of you need access to information, healthcare services, support, or resources. Consider including organisations that provide mental health or counselling services, food, and other supplies.
- Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbours, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
- Learn about the emergency operations plan at your child’s school or childcare facility, and your employer’s emergency operations plan.
- Practice everyday preventive actions including regular hand washing.
What are Visit Isle of Wight doing to protect the Island’s economy?
Will Myles, Managing Director of Visit Isle of Wight, has said:
“Our message to residents, Island businesses and our visitors is to follow the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organization, Public Health England and the Home Office.
“Tourism is a major contributor to the Island’s economy, and as such it is in everyone’s interests to work together to lessen any impact the Coronavirus can have here.
“Visit Isle of Wight will continue to actively promote the Isle of Wight as a year-round destination”.
What are the Isle of Wight Council saying?
The Isle of Wight Council’s Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, has said:
“We are working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure that people on the Island are protected as much as possible.
“Current evidence indicates that most cases appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms.
“Older residents or those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions may experience more severe symptoms”.
For more advice on self isolation visit NHS online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/.
You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection. For more information on the symptoms and steps to take, go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
For the latest advice for travellers returning from affected areas, plus guidance to schools and care homes, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.