Here is a message from Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, Oxfordshire County Council & Cherwell District Council
As a result of increasing number of cases, the government have announced the move from containment to delay phase of our response to COVID-19.
This leads to significant change in the way we identify and manage potential cases of COVID-19.
The updated advice for people who suspect they have coronavirus is as follows:
a. A new continuous cough
b. High temperature (of 37.8c or higher)
2. The geographic element of the case definition has now been removed. Travel and contact history are no longer important for diagnosis, which is on the basis of symptoms alone. If people who have travelled do not have symptoms they do not need to stay at home, regardless of their travel history.
Symptomatic Individuals should stay at home (self-isolate) for 7 days from the onset of symptoms following the current advice.
People who have the above symptoms and suspect they have Covid-19 will no longer be tested.
If someone has serious symptoms they cannot manage at home they should use NHS 111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online).
After 7 days of self-isolation, people who feel better and no longer have a high temperature can return to their normal routine. If they have not had any signs of improvement after 7 days and have not already sought medical advice, they should use NHS111 before they leave their home or let visitors in. Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to stay at home for more than 7 days.
If you are a suspect case and self-isolate, the public and the organisations concerned do not have to take extra measures beyond this, for now. The above measures have been put in place to protect vast majority of the public while causing minimum impact on the day to day business.
As we move further into Delay phase, the government may consider other measures like social distancing in the future. It is very important that we don’t deviate from the current government position, which is based on best scientific evidence available to us. It is also important that we take a longer term view on this. We need to make sure the right measures are put in place at the right time, to ensure maximum positive impact. Otherwise it can be extremely counterproductive.
The evidence still indicates that most cases experience mild flu like symptoms. If you do have any concern please do visit the public health website www.gov.uk/coronavirus which provides up to date reliable information. As the situation evolves further new information will be added to this website.
You can continue to take sensible precautions to help slow the spread of almost any germs, including Coronavirus:
Corporate Director of Public Health and Wellbeing
Oxfordshire County Council & Cherwell District Council