We can confirm that there have been 15 cases of the Covid-19 variant that originated in India, in Wokingham Borough. This variant does appear to be more transmissible, so it is crucial that residents remain vigilant and follow all the rules to prevent further spread in the community.
Our Public Health and other dedicated Covid response teams are working hard to contain the virus and keep cases isolated. This includes an enhanced self-isolation service, so we can ensure residents have the right support available to allow them to comply with self-isolation rules; calling all major businesses to raise the importance of staff testing; and working in local communities and organisations to promote testing and self-isolation when needed.
We are also working with NHS partners to promote uptake of the vaccine and providing free rapid testing to all residents to check they aren’t infected.
In addition, we are working hard to prepare in case Public Health England instruct us to carry out surge testing, which could happen soon. Surge and targeted testing is taking place in an increasing number of places across England and involves testing of people who do not have any symptoms of Covid-19 to help monitor and suppress the spread of variants of concern.
We have a plan in place should we be required to do this and will keep our residents up to date as and when appropriate.
The current vaccine programme appears to be effective against different variants of the virus, but anyone not fully vaccinated is still at risk of serious illness from Covid-19. While the rollout of the vaccine is going well in Wokingham Borough, many adults are still to have both doses of the vaccine, so the threat of infection is still high.
At this stage, we are asking all residents to stay sensible, comply with all the rules and follow best practice, with the most simple guidance being: Test – Isolate – Vaccinate.
Basic guidance includes:
- Taking up the opportunity for a vaccine as soon as you are eligible
- Continuing to follow social distancing guidelines; hands, face, space and fresh air
- Getting a PCR test if you have symptoms and isolating until you receive the result
- Self-isolating for a further 10 days if you test positive
- Taking regular rapid Covid-19 tests (lateral flow tests) twice a week to check you aren’t infected and if you test positive from this, getting a confirmatory PCR test through Gov.uk
- Understanding what you can and cannot do under the current restrictions and sticking to all the rules around socialising with people outside your household
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services said: “It is imperative that we keep going with all the right behaviours to contain the virus and slow rising infection rates in our communities. Cases are increasing across the borough and nationally despite the vaccine roll-out; so please remain cautious and remember to Test, Isolate and Vaccinate.
“As we can see from worse-affected areas in other parts of England, people are still catching Covid-19 even if they’ve been vaccinated. This new variant is spreading fast, so we need to follow all the rules and best practice to protect ourselves and others.”
Full Government guidance
The full guidance on what you can and cannot do is available on the Gov.uk website.