Coronavirus: What you need to know as cases begin to increase

City Hospital (original picture by David Hallam-Jones cc-by-sa-2.0) and Queen's Medical Centre (original picture by Harry Mitchell cc-by-sa-3.0)

Five patients in a Nottingham hospital have tested positive for coronavirus and hundreds of people locally have begun to self-isolate – including a city MP.

As sporting events across the county were cancelled and measures are brought in to cut social contact, the Government underlined its advice that people with symptoms should stay at home in a bid to slow the spread of the disease.

On Friday Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates both the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, said five in-patients had tested positive. The trust did not say which hospital was affected.

All the patients contracted the disease while in the same area and a deep clean is being conducted of the area affected.

Dr Keith Girling, Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals said: “We have been preparing for a number of weeks to be ready to manage patients with COVID-19 infections.

“Patients with appointments or who need to attend for urgent or emergency care should still come to hospital. For your own protection, please be scrupulous with your hygiene and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and use and then bin tissues if you cough or sneeze. Thorough hand washing will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

In other developments, the University of Nottingham is to suspend face-to-face lectures and tutorials.

Concerned you have symptoms? What you should do;

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. But you should contact the service IF;

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

More information is available on the NHS website.

Instead study via remote and online systems will begin on Monday, March 23.

On Friday, Nottingham East’s Labour MP Nadia Whittome said she had begun self-isolation after displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

“I have had many constituents write to me, understandably concerned about Covid-19.

“I have today organised a conference call with senior local health and emergency planning representatives to ensure that I am kept up to speed on measures undertaken to contain and manage the spread of the virus in Nottingham East.”

She added she was “increasingly alarmed” by what she described as the Government’s “slow pace” in responding to the virus.

On Thursday Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK’s chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser, had all said closing schools and cancel sporting events and mass gatherings would have little effect and could prove harmful in the long run if enacted too early in the pandemic.

Instead, they said, such measures should follow later when they could be more effective in curtailing a large upswing in cases.

“At all stages, we have been guided by the science, and we will do the right thing at the right time,” said Mr Johnson.

“We are not – repeat not – closing schools now. The scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time. But we are of course keeping this under review and this again may change as the disease spreads. Schools should only close if they are specifically advised to do so. And that remains our advice.”

Nottingham Trent University is running “as usual” and as of Friday had no confirmed cases among staff or students.

A university statement read: “We are monitoring the situation closely and preparing now so we can respond quickly should our situation change. We, at NTU, are following advice from Public Health England and Foreign Commonwealth Office and ensuring both staff and students are aware of official guidance and advice.”

On Friday, the total number of confirmed cases in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire stood at 11. Of these, six are in the county and five in the city.

However, on Thursday, the Government had said the true number of cases nationally is likely to be much higher than official numbers suggest.

This is because many people, possibly 5,000-10,000 across the country, could be carrying the virus but have no or mild symptoms.

Most people will not have a serious illness and recover at home. But some people need hospital treatment for lung problems and a small portion of those infected – thought to be around 1 per cent – die from the virus.

Covid-19 typically starts with a cough and fever. In some cases these later develop into breathing difficulties.

More information is available on the NHS website and at Public Health England.


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