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Cardiff publishes plan to tackle rise in local coronavirus cases

Credit: Matthew Horwood

A plan has been published detailing how Cardiff and Vale University Heath Board, Cardiff Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council will continue to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The plan sets out how any rise in local cases and clusters will be identified, the nature of the local response, and how decisions will be agreed and action taken in the event of an outbreak.

Twenty-one separate measures are being monitored by the Cardiff and Vale Test, Trace, Protect service in a bid to identify early warning signs of a spike in cases. If concerning trends or patterns are identified through this mechanism a panel of experts is on standby to be convened, review the data and recommend measures that may help slow the spread.

The plan has been published as new figures have shown cases are continuing to rise in the region.

Educational settings, office workplaces, healthcare settings, non-food factories, coastal areas, and the night-time economy have all be marked for close surveillance by the Cardiff and Vale Test, Trace, Protect service.

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, said: “We have always known that as restrictions ease across Wales and more establishments begin to re-open, the risk of community transmission will increase.

“The most densely populated regions remain the highest risk, and this certainly applies to the capital city and neighbouring Vale of Glamorgan. It is for this reason that the three partners have been working so closely to prepare a comprehensive plan for prevention and response.

“Licensed premises make a significant contribution to the economy of both Cardiff and the Vale but bars and pubs in particular could be a cause for concern if customers are not following the guidelines on household groups and social distancing.”

Len Richards, CEO of the University Health Board, said: “As things stand, no patient is currently receiving critical care for Covid-19 related illness in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and August saw the first day since 15th March that all of the region’s care homes have been free of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

“We cannot, however, be complacent about the risk posed by the virus. It is vitally important that people continue to practice social distancing, regular handwashing, and when keeping apart isn’t possible wear a mask. There is always a risk of transmission in busy care settings and so we are constantly reviewing the measures in place to ensure they are as effective as possible.”

The Cardiff and Vale region has the highest number of pupils and students in Wales and the largest hospital in Wales (University Hospital of Wales, UHW). It is also home to many large workplaces.

Cllr Neil Moore, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “Our regional Test, Trace, Protect service has rightly identified large workplaces as a highly likely source of transmission. Factories with busy and fast paced production lines and loud machinery that can cause people to shout or stand close together are an obvious risk and the correct use of PPE in these settings is very important.

“Office based workplaces too can pose a risk of spread of the virus. They are usually indoor spaces with limited air flow, a high density of people, and are an environment in which people can easily relax and forget to heed the guidance on keeping apart.”

The public health guidance for Wales remains unchanged. Maintaining social distance, regularly washing hands and wearing a face covering remain key in preventing the transmission of Covid-19. People should ideally only mix indoors with people from their own household and stick strictly to the four household bubble rules. Most importantly, anyone displaying any of the three main symptoms – a new cough, a temperature, or a loss of taste or smell – must get a test.