Coronavirus updates for Essex on Gateway 97.8

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Indian coronavirus variant identified in SEVEN Essex households

17th May 2021
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

A Variant of Concern has been detected in Chelmsford, and residents are being advised by public health experts to get tested to keep it in check.

Essex County Council is working closely with Public Health England, our council partners and Essex and Southend Contact Tracing Service following the emergence of a small number of cases of the Covid-19 Variant of Concern, VoC 1617.2, in Chelmsford. This is the variant thought to have originated in India.

At present, the variant has been identified in cases within 7 households. The majority of these cases have no obvious link to foreign travel, it is therefore likely that the variant is present in the community.

Targeted PCR testing at locations where individuals from these households are known to have visited will take place. 

Regional and local public health experts are also calling for residents living in the Chelmsford City Council area to do a Lateral Flow Test as soon as possible.

Residents can collect at home tests kits from their local library or pharmacy or order online. The self-testing kits are easy to use and deliver results in approximately half an hour.

Testing will help identify anyone who may have been infected but is not displaying symptoms. Those who test positive will then need to self- isolate, which will prevent further spread.

Should a resident test positive they must then take a PCR test to confirm. If this test is positive, the results will be used by Public Health England to test for the variant.

Director of Public Health at Essex County Council, Dr Mike Gogarty said: “Though the light is at the end of the tunnel with the continued roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, the emergence of this new variant proves we can’t let down our guard. We need anyone not showing Covid-19 symptoms, particularly those in Chelmsford, to play their part and take a test.

“I would ask that all residents across the county continue to test regularly. Regular self-testing, twice a week, with lateral flow tests can reduce the spread of infection and stop people unknowingly passing on the virus to others.”