At a meeting of the corporate scrutiny committee on Tuesday, council bosses reassured the public there is nothing to panic about following the confirmed COVID-19 case on the Island.
Responding to Cllr Debbie Andre, asking whether a strategy was in place to deal with the virus, Council leader Cllr Dave Stewart said the risk level was relatively low on the Island.
Cllr Stewart said:
“We need to keep calm and carry on.
“I am extremely reassured by the professionalism of the public health officers and we have got some great practical things we are doing.
“I say play it safe — be sensible. People have been told to wash their hands and to not shake hands — these are simple things we can do.
“Phone a friend — we are all very good at looking after our residents but we do not need to go and see them to see if they are okay, you can phone them instead.”
Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, Cllr Clare Mosdell, said she could give absolute assurance the public health team were doing everything it could to ensure things were done correctly and to keep public fears to a minimum — but the council was not going to supply people with face masks.
“We have a strategy, everything is in place. We are ready. Nobody can say at this stage how the virus is going to progress.
“It is a really difficult time and the officers, as you can imagine, are incredibly busy.
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“All I can say is I walked into County Hall today and once again I saw people shake hands, not using hand gel. You need to wash your hands properly and stop shaking hands.
“I know we are all terribly British and that is what we do but at the moment we need to protect our own personal space a lot more than we usually do.”
Councillors also urged people to ring 111 and self-isolate, instead of going to the doctors or up to A&E — ‘it is the worst thing you can do’.
Cllr Mosdell said there had been an incident at St Mary’s over the weekend, when someone claiming to be a councillor had demanded information from hospital staff. She said:
“We will be investigating that phone call but I can say categorically it was not a county councillor.”
Cllr Mosdell also added that those coming on holiday to the Island need not phone public health asking if the Island was going to shut.