A STAFF member at a Woodley primary school has tested positive for coronavirus.
They were on holiday in one of the affected countries last week, and had self-isolated themselves on return.
Wokingham.Today understands that they have been taken to a London hospital for specialist care.
There are a number of self-isolating staff members from Willow Bank Infant School staying at home and as a result, the school will be closed for an undetermined number of days.
Some pupils are also self-isolating as a result.
The school is also being deep cleaned as a precaution, following advice from Public Health England.
There is no impact on Willow Bank Junior School or any other school in Wokingham borough at this time.
The school sent an email out to parents and staff members on the evening, of Saturday, February 29, reminding them to stay calm and follow recommended hygiene procedures.
The school is to be given a deep clean and will be closed for a few days while this takes place.
Willow Bank Infant School’s headteacher, Michelle Masters, sent a letter to parents, which has also been posted on social media. It says:
“We regret to inform you that we were told today that one of our members of staff has tested positive for the Coronavirus, Covid 19.
“We understand that this will worry many of you, and can reassure you that we have taken advice from Public Health England, who have released the attached statements. We have also attached some FAQs which hopefully answer some of the questions you may have.
“We apologise that it has taken some time to officially inform you, however we have first had to perform the necessary checks and procedures that follow such an incident, which has taken most of today. Please can we ask that you remain calm and follow the recommended hygiene procedures. The school will be shut for some days to allow for a deep clean and to ensure that the risks of infection remain low. We will be in contact to ensure that you are kept updated.
“I am sure you will join with me to wish the affected member of staff all the very best for a speedy recovery.”
Wokingham Borough Council, the NHS and Public Health England are working closely to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.
Dr Alison Barnett, Centre Director, Public Health England South East, said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Berkshire. The individual is a member of staff at a local primary school and we’re working closely with Wokingham Borough Council to provide all necessary support to the school and local community to manage the situation.
“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public.”
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for adult social care and public health said: “Wokingham Borough Council is working with health colleagues to do everything we can to help reduce the risk of further cases and safeguard our local school and community.
“Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
“If you have recently been to one of the affected countries and are feeling unwell, you should phone the NHS 111 helpline for further advice straight away – please don’t go to your doctor or a hospital. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus”
Earlier today, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty announced three new cases of the virus, bring the total number of cases in the UK to 23.
The other two cases are from Gloucestershire and Herfordshire.
Professor Whitty told Sky News that all three cases were being investigated and contact tracing was being carried out.
Two of the patients had recently travelled back from Italy, the third from Asia.
It comes a day after it was revealed that a man from Haslemere in Surrey had become the first man in the country to catch the virus without travelling to one of the most affected countries.
He had been taken to a specialist centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital for specialist treatment.
The Government is advising people to self-isolate – to stay indoors and avoid contact with others – on their return to the UK if they have visited:
- Hubei province in China in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms
- Iran, lockdown areas in northern Italy or special care zones in South Korea since 19 February, even if you do not have symptoms
- other parts of mainland China or South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild)
- other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild)
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
The Department of Health says that based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. Those who have died in Wuhan appear to have had pre-existing health conditions.
And China has also introduced port-of-exit screening so people already exhibiting symptoms are not allowed to leave the country.
Although people are concerned about the coronavirus, so far, more people have died of the flu.
Advice from the World Health Organisation is to keep washing hands thoroughly to reduce the risk of picking up any winter viruses.
Should coronavirus come to Wokingham borough, council leader Cllr John Halsall said that his team were well-prepared.
“We asked officers to put in place a graded plan so we can put it into action when the Coronavirus is in Wokingham,” he said.
“The plan has been crafted so we can create the appropriate response.”