Sat, 14 Mar 2020
Two more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in West Berkshire.
The cases were confirmed today (Saturday) following West Berkshire Council announcing the district's first case yesterday.
The news follows GP surgeries operating under new safety measures for managing the pandemic.
Strawberry Hill Medical Centre in Newbury has said that temporary changes are currently in place as a result of COVID-19.
It said: "NHS England has issued instruction that all routine Doctor appointments are to be screened by a GP on the telephone to assess if they need to be seen. This is to prevent a patient with possible case of COVID-19 entering the surgery and it having to close for a few days for a deep clean.
"We want to keep our 22,000 patients safe, especially the more vulnerable, help prevent hospitals getting overwhelmed and have enough well staff able to come to work. Therefore patients who turn up to the surgery for a Doctor appointment will be asked to go home and wait for a call from a GP. This is to slow the spread of the virus.
"Please DO NOT turn up at the surgery without having spoken to a GP first. Telephone the surgery or send a message via the website and a GP will call you back. They will then book you a same day appointment if you need one. There will not be any face to face appointments available to book either at the desk or online, only telephone appointments. Doctors will be able to prescribe medicines over the phone if necessary and now have the ability to offer video consultations if needed. Follow the advice at NHS111 online.
"If you have a routine appointment with a nurse, midwife or social prescriber already booked, please only attend if you have no symptoms of a cough or a temperature and have not been advised to self-isolate. You will be asked at reception if you do have symptoms and if you do, or appear to, you will be sent home.
"Contact the surgery via telephone or our website. You can request repeat prescriptions either via the web site or using the patient access app. It will be best if you request the meds to be sent to a nominated pharmacy rather than coming to the surgery to collect a prescription and then also going to a pharmacy to collect the medicines.
The Downland Practice, which has surgeries in Chieveley and Compton, has said: "GP appointments at the surgery will be screened by a GP telephone call first and then a decision will be made if the patient needs to attend the surgery.
"Repeat medication requests will only be issued for one month at a time due to supply concerns. Telephones will be answered where possible but the surgery is experiencing unplanned staff absences. Medications can be collected from the Pharmacy. Requests for non NHS services (requests for medical records/medicals etc) will be dealt with once the surgery is able to return to normal service."
The Hungerford Surgery has said: "Due to the coronavirus outbreak, GP practices have now entered a new phase of safety measures. These measures are in place for the safety of patients and staff.
"If you have a booked GP or Nurse appointment, with immediate effect, it will be changed to a telephone appointment – PLEASE DO NOT COME TO THE SURGERY.
"You will instead be called by a GP or Nurse at your allotted time and triaged over the telephone by a doctor. Blood appointments will be checked by a GP to assess urgency. If you have a blood appointment, attend as usual unless you have been advised it is not necessary or you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus in which case you must self isolate for 7 days.
"Our teams are working hard to keep patients informed of these changes.
"Our reception team are currently contacting all patients with booked appointments to advise them of the situation, so please do not call the surgery unless absolutely necessary. If you have a routine query, please ask the receptionist a question via the website".
Some local sports fixtures were also called off this weekend as the country moved from the containment phase to the delay phase.
After the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed yesterday centre director for public health England South East, Alison Barnett, said: "This individual is a resident of West Berkshire who is now self-isolating. Our priority now is to undertake targeted contact tracing where we think it can help to prevent or control an outbreak, particularly among more vulnerable groups. We will no longer be contacting all individuals who have been in close contact with a confirmed case."
Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are: a cough, high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher) and shortness of breath.
Current advice is to stay at home for seven days if you have either a high temperature or a new continuous cough.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
People self-isolating should stay at home, not go to work, school or public places, not use public transport or taxis, ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you, try to avoid visitors to your home - it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
Advice for calling the NHS 111 online coronavirus service is if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse, your symptoms do not get better after seven days.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Health and local authorities are appealing for people to follow national Government guidance to prevent further spread of the illness and limit the numbers affected.
This guidance includes taking basic hygiene precautions as the best way of significantly reducing the chances of spreading any virus: sneeze or cough into a tissue, bin it, wash your hands frequently and don't touch your face unless you've just washed your hands.
Current evidence indicates that most cases appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. Older residents or those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions may experience more severe symptoms.