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Fewer than 15 new coronavirus cases a week in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:57 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 09 July 2020

The drive-through coronavirus testing facility at the Norwich Research Park was set up very quickly to support the increase in testing capacity  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The drive-through coronavirus testing facility at the Norwich Research Park was set up very quickly to support the increase in testing capacity Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in Norfolk has fallen to fewer than 15 a week.

Dr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilDr Louise Smith. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk, said the county was experiencing low numbers of new cases as she presented its local outbreak plan to Norfolk County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday.

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The plan, which was released last week, details how the county will act if there are sudden coronavirus outbreaks in future.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Smith said: “We are walking a very fine balance now between opening up coming out of lockdown, getting the economy back up and running and getting people back into work, and the risks mixing will bring in terms of further transmission.

“We can never make it zero but we can reduce the risk.”

Alongside preventative measures such as hand washing, social distancing and face coverings, Dr Smith set out what occurs in the case of a local outbreak or geographical local lockdown, which she said Norfolk was “nowhere” near.

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In the first instance, a local outbreak - which is defined as two or more people - will be monitored for a minimum of 28 days. In the case of a spike such as that in Leicester, Dr Smith said a lockdown and necessary restrictions may be implemented in a certain area, a whole town or district or the whole county.

Dr Smith said: “This very hands on work is the core foundation for us in Norfolk of being able to keep lockdown open, ended and not having to go back into lockdown.

“It may be too high a hope but my ambition is that we do not get to this [geographical local lockdown]. That we manage to deal with our outbreaks locally in small numbers and we do not see uncontrolled transmission in the general population.

“We clearly have to think about this and we are monitoring the data on a daily basis that the number of cases in the generation population are not rising.”

The top risk she said is the “significant uncertainty” about future disease activity.

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She said: “We are at very low numbers now, we are seeing diagnosed per week less than 15 cases.

“As we head into colder weather and we spend less time outside as the schools come back as we come into flu season there is a significant risk of a second wave happening sometime in the autumn or winter. We are planning for that and aware that could happen very suddenly and very quickly.”


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