Accommodation “maybe an unhelpful factor in driving transmission” in workforces – Wrexham sees two new confirmed cases
Wrexham has seen six new confirmed coronavirus cases connected to the ‘outbreak’ linked to a local food factory, however that is not a figure that has changed since Saturday.
At lunchtime today the Health Minister Vaughan Gething said, “There have been 289 confirmed Coronavirus cases at the Rowan Foods plant in Wrexham. This is an increase of six on last week. Everyone has now been offered a test and all contact tracing to date has been completed and there remains no evidence of wider community transmission beyond people working on the site and their close contacts.”
Public Health Wales have said this afternoon, “The multi-agency team managing the outbreak of Coronavirus associated with Rowan Foods Ltd in Wrexham has recorded 289 cases. There continues to be no evidence that this outbreak is factory-based, and the results we have identified are what we would expect to see when a focused testing takes place.” Today’s wider Public Health Wales data shows two confirmed new cases for Wrexham, out of seven throughout Wales.
We also pointed to outbreaks appearing to be around a mix of HMOs, car sharing, specific working conditions and demographics that contribute to create conditions for easier spread. We asked what proactive measures were being looked at to help protect people in those situations.
The Minister replied, “On the figures my understanding is that the six are from the testing programme that has been carried out and the results being provided as opposed to really historic data.”
“On the broader points you make. I think that’s really important because we do know that not just the operation of a business, but how people get there and how people live is a real factor in transmission. So yes, we’re concerned about how the business is helping people to get to work in a manner that minimizes the risks of transmission between its workforce. I’m also genuinely concerned about the conditions that people live within, not just in houses of multiple occupation where people may share bathroom and toilet facilities or kitchens and the opportunity for contact indoors and surfaces is an obvious concern. You’ve heard that from our scientists, and others.”
“But in particular, if there is reality to the suggestion that people are sharing beds. That’s a matter where the agency may have some control and ability to help resolve that. But there’s an obvious risk if people finish one shift, then return from that shift to get into a bed that someone has just got out of. So there are real issues here about accommodation and how it maybe an unhelpful factor in driving transmission within that workforce.”
“The positive note is we’ve not identified any further community transmission beyond that workforce and their close contacts. So we’ll continue to look at that data and that evidence. We’re certainly not being complacent about it. But I recognise all the factors that you mentioned, they’re definitely part of the matters that the outbreak control team are considering.”
The Minister was asked if all those suspected of having coronavirus in connection with the local outbreak had been traced, or if there were any outstanding.
The Minister replied, “On all of the contact tracing details we’ve been provided with, I checked this morning, and I think those are all up to date from the tracing point of view.”
“We do have a number of people who have yet to test and who are on our list to want to test, but they’ve all been contacted. So we’ve made that contact with people, it is about getting them to come forward to make sure their test take place. If there are any further positive cases, we’ll need to take their, their contact details and follow those up.”
You can view today’s briefing in full including the Q&A on the below video:
Yn fyw gyda’r Gweinidog Iechyd, Vaughan Gething | Live with Health Minister, Vaughan Gething https://t.co/B7fcgomtNd
— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) July 7, 2020
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