WARRINGTON Borough Council has published its coronavirus outbreak control plans.

The local outbreak plans build on existing health protection plans such as extra hand washing, wearing a mask and social distancing and put in place measures to identify and contain outbreaks of Covid-19.

While they are focused primarily on controlling outbreaks, preventing the spread of the virus is still critical to prevent outbreaks in Warrington and to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.

In the event of an outbreak, the plans developed by the council for settings such as schools, care homes and communities will be enacted.

READ >35 cities, towns and counties that could face local lockdown

Some settings may be so complex that whole setting testing may be the only way to ensure that some people are tested if an outbreak occurs.

The plans provide the framework to help manage any local lockdown restrictions that might be necessary, prevent the spread of the virus, and provide reassurance and guidance to partners.

What is an outbreak?

An outbreak is defined as two or more positive cases of Covid-19 in the same setting, which arise in the same 14-day period.

Symptoms include:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of, or change in, normal taste and/or smell

Outbreak at an educational setting: If an educational and childcare setting or provision has two or more confirmed cases, or there is a high reported absence which is suspected to be Covid-19 related, they should promptly report to the local PHE NW team.

If a child or staff member who works at the setting tests positive, then the provision will be contacted by a contact tracer.

The school will identify direct and close contacts of the cases during the 48 hours prior to the child or staff member falling ill.

These people will be asked to go home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days starting from the day they were last in contact with the case.

Outbreak at a care home:

All resident contacts of a possible or confirmed case of Covid-19, should be isolated for 14 days from the last date of contact with the ill resident.

Staff who are ill with symptoms should stay off work for seven days and be fever free for 2 days before returning to work.

Outbreak elsewhere: If your test is positive, you will become part of the NHS Test and Trace response and should follow the advice provided.

Cabinet member responsible for Public Health, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “We know that lockdown restrictions are easing, we know that more shops and schools are reopening, but we really need to keep following the national guidance. This virus hasn’t disappeared, we are still living with it, and our outbreak plans are in place to mitigate the transmission of Covid-19.

“Our plans are comprehensive and detail extensively how we will respond to outbreaks. I want to make clear that in the event of an outbreak, we will work with affected groups to provide support and will communicate very clearly with our partners to help them understand why local outbreak management is so important, and how they can help.

“We need our residents to continue to follow the clear guidance around social distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene, as these measures are the most effective ways of minimising spread of the virus and preventing outbreaks.

“If you have symptoms, you need to follow the stay at home guidance and arrange to get tested. If your test is positive, you will become part of the NHS Test and Trace response and should follow the advice provided. It’s all about people protecting people – and as one big community in Warrington we can minimise the spread of infection and, ultimately, save lives.”

For more information about the council’s prevention plans, the NHS Test and Trace service and how you can get tested for coronavirus, visit warrington.gov.uk/TestAndTrace