THOUGH no cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Tameside, the borough is well prepared for an outbreak.
Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, director of population health for Tameside, said: “First of all I would like to reassure residents that the risk to individuals in Tameside remains low, and we haven’t yet had any cases confirmed in Tameside.
“The risk to the UK population is classed as ‘moderate, to allow the Government to plan for all eventualities. Of those who catch coronavirus, the great majority will have a mild-to-moderate illness – similar to flu.
“However, for older people, or people with pre-existing health conditions, there is a higher risk that they will experience severe illness from coronavirus, and so we need to protect them.
“We should all be following simple steps to ensure we protect ourselves and our community.
“A simple and effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus is by making sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser if you are out and about.
“It’s particularly important to wash your hands once you get home or arrive at work, after using public transport, or before you prepare or eat food.
“If you are unwell it’s vital that you catch your coughs and sneezes in a tissue, or use your arm if needed, throw the tissues away, then wash your hands.
“If in the coming weeks we find the coronavirus is spreading in our community, this could mean the NHS is busier than usual so it’s important to think carefully about the NHS services you use.
“If you start to experience symptoms and believe you could have coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital as you could pass the infection to others. Please visit www.NHS.uk/coronavirus for information and guidance.
“If you think you might have coronavirus, you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days, or you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service (https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 ). If you need to speak to someone call NHS 111.
“The NHS in Tameside and Glossop and Public Health England (PHE) is well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases having responded to a wide range of infectious disease outbreaks in the recent past.
“you would expect, there are national, regional and local plans in place to deal with a variety of emergency situation including pandemics – though we are not currently in a pandemic situation.
“Locally we have been sharing information widely with all health professionals on steps to take if they identify patients who may have COVID-19.
“We have begun the roll out of a community testing site within the hospital car park so that swabbing of any suspected cases can be done in a safe and controlled environment.
“We will continue to share the latest advice to residents through our channels to make sure they know what to do if they experience symptoms.
“All our services across the Council and NHS are working together and reviewing business continuity plans to ensure we can continue to deliver services as normal should the virus spread in our community.
“Should we have a confirmed case within our borough we will be fully supported by PHE using tried and tested procedures for rapid tracing, monitoring and isolation of close contacts, with the aim of preventing further spread.”
Pennine Medical Centre, on Manchester Road in Mossley, has sent out a text to its patients with advice if they suspect they have coronavirus.
The message reads: “Please do not book a GP appointment if you think you may have coronavirus. Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people.
“Use the 111 online coronavirus service to see if you need medical help – https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19.
“Find out more at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/”