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Northampton being added to the government's watchlist as an "Area of Intervention"

Published: Friday, 21 August 2020

Northampton borough has seen a marked increase in covid-19 cases and from today will be added to the government’s watch list as “an area of intervention”,

The analysis shows that this spike is heavily influenced by a workplace outbreak at the Greencore food processing factory where 287 workers have tested positive. 

Alongside Public Health England Northampton Borough Council will continue to support Greencore so that they are in a position to re-open as soon as is safe to do so. 

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health said: “Northampton borough has been experiencing a high number of cases over the last 4 weeks and from today will be added to the government’s watchlist as an “Area of Intervention”.

“Local testing data shows this spike is significantly influenced by a workplace outbreak at the Greencore Factory. As a result, the factory will close voluntarily from today, and most employees and their direct households will be required to isolate at home for two weeks.  The government is also introducing regulations to ensure this isolation period is enforceable and anyone leaving isolation without a reasonable excuse prior to the required period ending will be subject to fines.
 
“This decision has been taken as part of the ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of the virus in the Borough. We will continue to support Greencore so that they are in a position to re-open as soon as is safe to do so.

“I want to thank local people in Northampton for the collective effort to date to help reduce the spread of the virus. We recognise this is tough for everyone, but I would urge you all to keep going and to follow the guidance. This situation illustrates how fragile our position is, and that if we don’t keep continuing to work together to reduce the transmission of the virus, there is a very real possibility that further and stricter intervention measures and a possible local lockdown will follow.”

Currently, we are continuing to avoid local lockdown in the county, but it is essential that everyone works together to reduce transmission of the virus as otherwise there is a very real possibility that even stricter intervention measures will follow. 

The current guidance in Northampton remains:
•    Limit contact with others outside of your household or bubble

•    Work from home if you can

•    Keep 2 metres from others at all times, use a face-covering where you are less than 2 metres apart

•    Avoid using public transport or car sharing, wear face coverings if you cannot avoid these

•    If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home, self-isolate and get a test

•    Avoid meeting those outside of your household or bubble in an indoor space

•    Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for 20 seconds each time

•    Do not share items with others outside of your household or bubble

•    If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not go to work, either work from home or report sick, self-isolate and get a test

•    Even if you only have mild COVID-19 symptoms, get a test

•    If you are contacted by test and trace and asked to self-isolate, stay at home for 14 days

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: "Our message is simple, COVID-19 has not gone away and we need our communities' continued support in reducing our rate of transmission.

"Fighting coronavirus is everyone’s responsibility, this is why it is essential that residents remain vigilant, stick to social distancing guidelines, continue to wash their hands regularly, get tested even if they have mild symptoms or are simply concerned that they may have been exposed to the virus, avoid car-sharing and wear face coverings in enclosed spaces and on public transport.

"Self-isolation is crucial if you have symptoms, tested positive or if you are advised by Test and Trace contact teams. 

“Collectively doing these things will make a big difference to help reduce the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe, and is the only way that we can avoid more people suffering the effects of covid-19, or further restrictions and lockdown being placed upon the town."