Bedfordshire hospitals prepare for coronavirus


Hospitals in Bedfordshire would resort to using isolated side rooms, if there were cases of the coronavirus virus in the county.

The first two cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK were confirmed on Friday (31 January) in the north of England.

Unlike the Ebola virus, specialist facilities are not essential for treating coronavirus, according to Central Bedfordshire Council’s assistant director public health Celia Shohet.

Speaking after a health and wellbeing board meeting, she said, “We’re following national advice.

“We are checking it every day. There is no more action required at the moment.

“I know that people are contacting their GPs if they’ve got flu-like symptoms. I know they are concerned.

“If you look at the national advice the risk remains really low.

“If you have flu-like symptoms just follow usual precautions about using tissues, avoiding spreading any virus.

“So there’s nothing extra that residents need to do over and above the standard measures that you take.”

She explained if anyone has come back from Wuhan recently “they are to self-quarantine for 14 days”, adding: “That’s government advice at the moment.

“They’ve done 130 tests and none of them are positive at the moment, so there’s no indication that there is any infection in the UK from coronavirus.

“There’s plenty of circulating flu. If anyone needed medical help, if they were having respiratory symptoms, the majority of hospitals would have side rooms, somewhere that they could practice infection control.

“It’s not like Ebola where you need really specialist facilities, such as those at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Most hospitals will have side rooms.

“But it’s so far down the line at the moment. It really is. So we look at it every day.”

Public Health England (PHE) advice is that the risk to the public remains low.

If and when a first case is confirmed it will be announced as soon as possible.

“London Heathrow Airport is being monitored every week,” said Cllr Stock, who’s the executive member for health and wellbeing, and communities.

by Local Democracy Reporter, Euan Duncan

Now more than ever, we need your help to fund the Bedford Independent’s quality journalism that serves our community...

We choose to champion editorial independence, meaning we report the facts without bias and can stand up to those in power when we believe it’s needed.

We can give a voice to people in our community whose voices may otherwise not be heard. And we don’t have a paywall, so everyone can read the stories we publish for free.

But in this time of crisis, many news organisations all over the world are facing existential threat, with advertising revenues plummeting. We’re no different.

We work hard every day to bring you news, commentary, entertainment and announcements from across Bedford. We hope that, with your help, we’ll be able to continue this for many years to come.

Will you help sustain our work today by clicking below ? Even a small donation makes a difference for our future.

Thank you for your support.