Suspected cases of novel coronavirus have been investigated by the East Kent Hospitals Trust with admissions understood to include one initially at QEQM Hospital in Margate.
The latest case was dealt with yesterday (February 8) according to several sources at the hospital.
A spokesman for the National Infection Service said yesterday: “We aren’t providing a running commentary on suspected cases or tests that are underway.
“As of February 8, a total of 686 UK tests have concluded, of which 683 were confirmed negative and 3 positive.”
The number of tests that are completed is being published each day by the Department of Health.
Fourth case confirmed
Today a fourth case of the infection was confirmed. The Department of Health says the risk to individuals remains low.
The Chief Medical Officer.for England, Professor Chris Whitty, said: “A further patient has tested positive for novel coronavirus in England, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to four.
“The new case is a known contact of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France.
“Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified this individual and ensured the appropriate support was provided.
“The patient has been transferred to a specialist NHS centre at The Royal Free Hospital, and we are now using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.
“The NHS is extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them, and we are working quickly to identify any further contacts the patient has had. This patient followed NHS advice by self-isolating rather than going to A&E.”
The Department for Health has not confirmed whether this was one of the suspected virus cases investigated by the hospital trust at QEQM or its other hospitals.
The East Kent Hospitals Trust said it is unable to comment and has to refer everything coronavirus related to the Department of Health.
UPDATE (February 10): Four further UK cases of the infection have now been confirmed bringing the total number of cases in the UK to eight.
The new cases are all known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France. The patients have been transferred to specialist NHS centres at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and The Royal Free hospitals.
Professor Chris Whitty said: “Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases. They successfully identified these individuals and ensured the appropriate support was provided.
“We are now using robust infection control measures to prevent further spread of the virus. The NHS is extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them, and we are working quickly to identify any further contacts these patients have had.”
The Secretary of State has now designated Arrowe Park Hospital and Kents Hill Park as “isolation” facilities.
Reports of a case at Buckland Hospital in Dover are not correct, the Trust has confirmed.
As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.
The risk to individuals remains low
Based on the World Health Organisation’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities. The risk to individuals remains low.
The UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.
These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review.