Coronavirus Update Briefing

From Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health, Gloucestershire County Council

The first confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred on 3 March in Gloucestershire. Staff from the council and Public Health England (PHE) are providing all necessary support to the individuals involved.

Good hygiene continues to be the best prevention – washing hands regularly and thoroughly, and covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

More information about COVID-19

You can read the latest information on the virus at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public which is updated daily.  The advice in the FAQs below is based on current guidance and we will provide further updates as needed.

Locally, we have tried and tested plans in place which mean that we are prepared to deal with a whole range of issues.  This is an evolving situation and all agencies are working together to make sure everything possible is being done to minimise the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading in the county.  

This includes:

  • Liaising with Public Health England and NHS England to ensure they are supported in their response and assured of our local plans as well as providing advice and support to the public who contact GCC.
  • Establishing a drive through testing facility in Brockworth where people can be tested safely and quickly without leaving their vehicle and coming into contact with the general public. 
  • Setting up “pods” at the hospital sites in Gloucester and Cheltenham where people who are unwell and need clinician assessment can be tested for the virus safely.
  • Set up a Home Testing Team for people who are unable to get to the hospital or drive through testing site.
  • Implemented pathways for treating and supporting patients with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection under a number of scenarios.  These have been stress tested through simulation exercises and were activated for the two confirmed local cases. 

National situation and general information

The government has published its coronavirus action plan and details of this can be found here.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. National advice remains that the best action we can all take is to ensure we continue to have good personal and hand hygiene, which includes:

  • Giving your hands a good wash with soap and water (but hand sanitisers can be a good substitute).
  • Maintaining personal hygiene when coughing or sneezing is also important – use a tissue rather your hands and then throw it away.  

Anyone who is concerned about their health symptoms is advised to follow the advice about what to do on the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public.

People are asked NOT to turn up at their GP surgery or other health services (e.g. hospital), but rather to call NHS 111.

If people have trips planned, they should follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice.   

For more advice on how to protect yourselves, your staff and volunteers please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

In addition

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) also published guidance on how charities can protect staff, volunteers and visitors and how to support vulnerable beneficiaries and communities. The guidance includes a list of helpful resources. https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/information/coronavirus

Where charities should look for Covid-19 advice 

Civil Society News has collated advice for charities dealing with Covid-19.  Their webpage at https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/voices/where-charities-can-find-covid-19-advice.html includes links to advice from the government, NCVO, Small Charities Coalition, Insititute of Fundraising, Fundriasing Regulator, Charities Commission and more.


March 5, 2020

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