West Bromwich factory calls in council public health over coronavirus cases

Published 17th July 2020

Sandwell Council’s Public Health Team is working with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands to support a West Bromwich workplace in which a third of the workforce are affected by COVID-19.

CBS Packaging Managing Director Jitha Singh and his colleagues are working closely with the firm and arranging further testing of the whole workforce starting on Monday.

Sandwell's Director of Public Health Dr Lisa McNally said: “The company has told people to isolate at home if they have symptoms.

“They are taking the advice of public health partners on safety and infection control measures.

“We’re very pleased that the company encouraged their staff to take the tests which has enabled them to identify these cases.

“I would encourage other companies to come to us if they also have any concerns about COVID-19.”

Mr Singh said: “We very much appreciate the help and support from the public health teams to help us deal with this situation and try to get it under control.

“Obviously we have tried to do everything we are meant to – but this is new to all of us and we are all learning.

“As a businessman I would encourage other businesses to take up all the help available. Pick up the phone and ask for help – don’t put it off.”

Dr McNally said there was concern over infection transmission into the community – both in neighbouring Smethwick, where cases have gone up recently, and in Walsall.

However she said it would not be reasonable to connect the factory directly to the all of the new cases we have seen in Smethwick.

She said: “We know the virus does not respect geographical boundaries and people do travel all over the Black Country and Birmingham for work.

“So we need to be aware of that and keep getting the messages out as much as possible.

“I would also urge everyone to engage fully in national Test & Trace programme and make sure they give all the required information.”

She repeated that everyone needs to remember the virus is still all around us and to follow the advice:

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, you need to do three things.  First, you and your household must self-isolate at home.

Second, book a test online or by calling 119.  Third, if you test positive, respond to any messages from Test & Trace.

Doing these three things can save lives.

Following the advice below can save lives.

If you have symptoms:

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate at home and book at test.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you have symptoms you and your household must self-isolate at home.  This also applies to anyone in your ‘support bubble’.

Book a test by calling 119 or use the NHS 111 online service:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-an-antigen-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

More information is below

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/

Social distancing, hand washing and face coverings

Be strict in keeping your distance from people not in your household - 2 metres apart where possible.  Keep washing your hands regularly and limit contact with other people.

Stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can and wear a face covering especially if you are in an ‘indoors’ environment.

NHS Test and Trace

You will be contacted by the NHS Test & Trace service if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

You will be asked where you've been recently and who you've been in close contact with. Please help them to give good full information so they can help others.

This will help the NHS contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you.

The public needs to be alert to NHS Test and Trace and follow their advice:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/