The official NHS Test & Trace app has alerted thousands of Islanders to the fact that the risk level for the Isle of Wight has increased from ‘low’ to ‘medium’.
One of the features of the new and improved NHS mobile phone app – which the Island was selected to test last month – is the ability for users to be told the risk level in their local area.
Notifications have been pinging up on phones this afternoon (Wednesday) to inform locals of the worrying change.
The alert level is understood to be based on the local authority area (the Island as a whole) rather that individual postcodes.
The medium risk warning says:
“Your local authority, or a neighbouring local authority, has higher levels of infection than other parts of the country.
“The local area plan has been implemented and targeted actions are in place to reduce transmission of infection (e.g additional testing in care homes and increased community engagement with high risk groups).
‘Some areas may be receiving additional national support (e.g mobile testing capacity)’.
Earlier on today it was confirmed that 5 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified on the Isle of Wight.
UPDATE THURSDAY – Isle of Wight Council leader, Dave Stewart, has today said:
“We understand that there are some concerns that the Island might be heading for a local lockdown as a result of the change in alert level on the NHS Covid-19 app, but this is not the case.
“The Island still has a relatively low rate of infection compared with other areas of the country and we continue to monitor this on a daily basis.
“The change could simply be down to the national alert level rising from three to four. The five new confirmed cases reported yesterday (Wednesday) may also have driven the change.
“We are told by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) that most local authorities in England are now classified as medium risk because either they or their neighbouring local authority has high or rising levels of infections.
“We will continue to work with the DHSC today to try to secure more information on the reasons for the change here.
“In the meantime, we should all continue to be vigilant of coronavirus symptoms which include a new continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell.
“It also important that we follow the government guidelines: hands, face, space.
- Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser regularly.
- Wear a face-covering where appropriate.
- Keep space from other people; 2 metres or at least 1 metre apart.
“If you or someone you know, displays any symptoms, no matter how mild, please get a free test by calling 119 or visiting NHS.uk
“The council has also produced a self-isolation toolkit to help people prepare to self-isolate if they need to.”