New Northamptonshire coronavirus patients had recently returned from Italy

They are members of the same family

By Sam Wildman
Sunday, 8th March 2020, 6:53 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th March 2020, 6:56 pm

The latest Northamptonshire residents to have caught coronavirus are from the same family and had recently visited Italy, health officials have confirmed.

This afternoon the number of positive test results in the county rose from two to four as the UK total reached 273.

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw, centre director at Public Health England East Midlands, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who have had close contact with two of the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19, both of whom are residents of Northamptonshire, within the same family and recently returned from Italy.

The patients had recently returned from Italy.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case.

"This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”

The first Northamptonshire case was confirmed by the Department of Health on Tuesday as a person who had recently been to Italy, which is the most-affected country in Europe.

A second Northamptonshire positive test was confirmed two days later and is a member of the same immediate family as the first person.

The latest two to be infected are from a different family to the first.

Authorities said they couldn't comment further on individual cases because of patient confidentiality.

Lucy Wightman, director of public health at Northamptonshire County Council, said: “I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public continues to remain low and Northamptonshire County Council’s public health team is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Northamptonshire are protected.

“If you have not been contacted by Public Health England as a close contact of the confirmed case, you do not need to take any action at this time.

“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

“If you have recently been to one of the affected areas and are feeling unwell, you should phone the NHS 111 helpline for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus”

Two UK patients who tested positive have since died, including one who was in hospital in nearby Milton Keynes. Both UK deaths were elderly patients with underlying health conditions.

More than 100,000 people worldwide have now tested positive for coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan in China. More than 3,500 have died.

In Italy about 16million people are in lockdown after the number of positive cases jumped from 1,200 to 5,883 on Saturday.

Visitors to Northampton General Hospital have been stealing hand sanitising gel as demand surges amid coronavirus fears. Bottles have been taken from patient beds and dispensers ripped from walls.

Many UK supermarkets are out of antibacterial gels with Tesco introducing rationing for essential food and household items because of coronavirus stockpiling.

Customers will be limited to buying no more than five of each of the rationed items including antibacterial gels, wipes and sprays, some tinned vegetables, dry pasta and UHT milk.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

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