We must do more to stop the spread of this virus – that’s the message from public service leaders in Carmarthenshire as Covid-19 cases start to rise again.
Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed-Powys Police are working closely with Public Health Wales and Welsh Government officials to respond to growing concerns about increased community spread of the virus.
They are urging people and businesses to take action now to avoid local restrictions being brought in that could affect people living in the county.
Numbers are now rising rapidly, in particular in the east of the county, with 86 new positive cases in Carmarthenshire over the last seven days.
Sadly, 136 people in the Hywel Dda health board area have died after testing positive for Covid-19 (as at September 4, 2020).
People are being asked to take the risk seriously and consider how their actions may impact on more vulnerable members of our communities.
Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “We were prepared for a possible second wave, but it’s come more quickly than we anticipated and the virus is spreading in our communities more than we expected. Now is the time we must all consider how our actions may impact on others. I know it feels unnatural to keep your distance from friends and neighbours, to not get together at the local pub, or to wear a mask to pop to the shops, but these actions are essential – these actions are what could prevent you unintentionally spreading Covid-19 to someone less likely than you to survive it.”
Steve Moore, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chief Executive, said: “The Carmarthenshire region has seen an increase in cases over the past few days, so we are asking the public to play their part and help reduce the spread of the virus by getting tested as soon as possible if you have symptoms.
“We have increased testing capacity for the area and urge only those with symptoms to book a test immediately. It’s also really important that you self-isolate at home in this instance and do not leave your house unless your isolation period has ended or you have a negative test result.
“Coronavirus remains a very serious illness, especially for the elderly and those with existing risk factors.
“We would urge the public to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings that cover the mouth and nose, keeping two metres away from others outside of their household bubble, as well as washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible.”
Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Mark Collins, added: “We appreciate that this has been a difficult time for everyone, as we have all had to make changes to our lives to ensure we help limit the spread of this virus. But it is very concerning that we are seeing increased community spread of the virus in Carmarthenshire, and now is the time for each and every one of us to step up and be more vigilant in complying with the current necessary restrictions and behaviours. Please remember that in addition to the Wales-wide restrictions, Welsh Government can impose local restrictions for specified areas where there has been an increase in the number of cases of the virus – so if we want to avoid these additional local restrictions, we must all act now and ensure that we support the current rules as far as possible.
“Our officers continue to be visible in our local communities, maintaining safe distances when we engage with residents, and will explain the circumstances and encourage people to do the right thing in complying with the restrictions. We know it’s tempting to gather with friends and family, but it’s vitally important that we stick to the rule of six indoors from an extended household only – including in pubs and restaurants, and outside only gatherings of up to 30 are permitted. Faced with non-compliance, and if considered necessary and proportionate to help stop the spread of the virus, we will take enforcement action against those flagrantly or persistently breaching the regulations. At the end of the day, the measures are there to protect people’s health, and help control and reduce the spread of the virus.”
The key message is simple:
Keep at least two metres distance from people not in your household
Wash your hands regularly
Wear a face covering in indoor public places, shops and on public transport
Do not meet with more than six people indoors from your extended household (not including children under 11)
Do not meet with more than 30 people outdoors
The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:
a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Anyone who develops any of these symptoms must follow self-isolation guidance and arrange a test as soon as possible, only leaving home to get tested.