Norfolk public health director ‘confident’ in track and trace system after Banham Poultry outbreak
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk’s public health director said she feels confident the test and trace system will prevent a wider outbreak of the coronavirus, after seven people tested positive at a meat processing factory.
Louise Smith has urged anyone who feels unwell, or who may have been in contact with an infected individual, to book a test and isolate at home, which she says is “the only answer” to prevent the spread of the virus after a confirmed outbreak at Banham Poultry, in Attleborough, on Monday.
With seven workers in isolation, more testing was done on staff at the site on Tuesday, as part of efforts to control the virus.
But despite feeling confident that actions were taken very early on in the outbreak, Dr Smith said it could be a month before they know the full extent.
She said: “Everything we are seeing at the moment is linked, we don’t know where this is going to go but I am confident that we have been notified early and that we have taken actions early, but we won’t know until we give it time.
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“We are still within the first seven to ten days and with any outbreak, however large or small, we keep it open for at least 28 days.
“My expectation is that the number will go up because of the number of tests we are doing now. The situation will evolve.”
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Dr Smith also revealed that Norfolk County Council had been planning for and “expected” a food processing factory outbreak after similar cases elsewhere in the country.
“We know it is a particular risk area,” she said.
“It might be because the rooms tend to be cold, and relatively humid, or it might because they have to stand close together, we don’t know 100pc why, but we have been planning for and always expected that we would get food processing outbreaks.”
Elsewhere in Norfolk, only a few weeks ago, Gorleston saw a rise in cases after a staff member tested positive at a Wetherspoons pub and four tested positive at a nursery.
Dr Smith said the test and trace system successfully “kicked in” to prevent the spread and the situation has now “settled down”.
She added: “I think we have been well coordinated as a system, the different organisations working together We have had really good support from businesses that have been affected.
“All of the businesses we have worked with, whether they are nurses, pubs or factories, had already done lots of things to reduce the risk and control the spread.”