Two new Kent cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the total to 11 plus two more in Medway.
The latest figures from government for today (March 13) show 32,771 people have been tested in the UK, of which 31,973 were confirmed negative and 798 were confirmed as positive. 10 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
A spokesman for East Kent Hospitals said: “We are continuing to follow the latest national guidance and procedures on coronavirus to keep our staff and patients safe.
“The latest advice is for people who develop a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for seven days. There is no need to be tested, and people should not go to hospital, GP surgeries or pharmacies.
“If you have a routine hospital appointment scheduled during the seven days of self-isolation, please contact us via the ‘change or cancel your appointment’ section on our homepage https://www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/ or call 01227 868686.
Precautions in Thanet
Businesses, schools and organisations in Thanet have been taking precautions in a bid to contain the virus,
Isle schools have issued guidance and some, including Newington primary, have cancelled trips and gatherings such as school discos.
A message to parents of Newington pupils says: “It is incumbent on us to reduce the risks to children and visitors as much as possible. One way to attempt to do this is to reduce the number of contacts that we have between the school community and external visitors, as well as reducing the number of times when large numbers of people come together in one place. This means that trips and visitors will be reviewed.”
Margate Museum and Tudor House
The museum and Tudor House in Margate have closed due to risk to volunteers, who mainly fall in the high risk age category.
A statement says: “In the current risk situation, with the Coronavirus ,The Trustees are closing the museum for at least two weeks from today, March 14. This is to minimise the risk to our volunteers who mainly fall within the range of high risk age group. We apologise for any inconvenience but hope that you will understand our reasons.
“We thank you for your support, any queries can be left on message or on firstname.lastname@example.org. or 01843 231213.”
Tesco community room
Tesco at Westwood has taken the decision to close their community room. As a result the Ageless Thanet Club on Mondays is cancelled until further notice.
It is understood Bradstowe Lodge nursing home on Broadstairs seafront is stopping visits to residents from Wednesday until further notice.
Monkton Nature Reserve
The reserve has temporarily closed to visitors due to concerns about safeguarding staff and the public while the virus is still a threat.
Heavy Disco Fundraiser in aid of Ramsgate Crisis Cafe
Due to the current circumstances, Margate Arts Club owner Pompom Vandenberg has issued the following statement: “We will unfortunately have to close our doors till at least end of April. We believe the health of our community is more important than anything else.”
Full refunds for the event which was due to take place on March 21 are available via Skiddle or alternatively, if you wish to donate your ticket money to the East Kent Mind Crisis Cafe project, leave it in the Skiddle account it will be collected and donated after March 30.
Kent School of English
Kent School of English is no longer accepting students until at least the end of the month.
Principal Andy Flaig said: “Due to the escalating coronavirus situation, we have agreed with our partner schools and agents that, as of this weekend, KSE will not be accepting any students until March 29 at the earliest. We understand this will affect a lot of people locally – staff, suppliers, hosts, voucher-takers and others – but this decision has been made with the local community’s best interests in mind.
“We will be keeping the situation under review and will act according to the advice we receive.”
The halt in language school business is already having an impact on the supply chain in Thanet such as host families, takeaways in Broadstairs and coach companies.
Birchington Vale caravan park underwent a deep clean last night (March 12) following confirmation from Public Health England that a customer at the club house on March 7 has since tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).
Caravan owners received a message from site owner Park Holidays to advise them of the situation.
The message said: “We have been advised by Public Health England that a person who attended an event at Birchington Vale clubhouse on Saturday, March 7 has tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19,
“We are therefore contacting everyone who may have been in the vicinity of this person to advise them of the situation and provide advice as recommended by Public Health England.
“We have been given assurances by PHE that the individual has taken the necessary precautions and that the likelihood of anyone else attending the event on March 7 contracting the virus is extremely low. They have advised that prolonged close vicinity contact of at least 15 minutes would be required before any serious risk of infection.”
Park Holidays say PHE is satisfied with the hygiene steps taken but an additional deep clean is being carried out anyway.
Broadstairs and St Peters Town Council
The Broadstairs and St Peters Town Council meeting for March 16 has been cancelled as a precautionary measure.
A statement on social media says: “Due to the ongoing uncertainty with the Covid19 virus, the Town Council has made the decision to cancel the March 16 Town Assembly. All reports will now be posted on the website and members of the community are asked to email the Town Council if they wish to raise any questions.”
Limes Medical Centre
The Limes Medical Centre in Margate is using telephone consultations by clinical staff to triage patients then bring in those that need to have a face to face appointment, the same as other GP practices in the county and following Commissioner and PHE advice.
Prescriptions are able to be electronically sent to a pharmacy of the patients choice.
Assistant Practice Manager Errol White said: “We are encouraging patients not to attend the surgery to support the vulnerable patients we continue to see and safeguard services moving forward. There is no reduction in appointments or clinical support.
“Please can patients ring the surgery for more information. We have put extra reception staff on the phone lines to support this. We request our patients follow Government advice at this time and thank them for their co-operation.”
MP Sir Roger Gale
The North Thanet MP has suspended face to face surgeries but will continue with case work and contact constituents by phone. He said: “For the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic I and my team will continue to operate as normally as possible within the issued guidelines.
“While it is clearly necessary, in the interests of public health, to minimise exposure to possible infection and therefore to suspend public access to our Thanet offices we shall continue to process all constituency casework as usual and regular “advice surgeries” will be conducted by telephone – please call 01843-848588 for an appointment.
“I shall endeavour to attend to my normal duties in The House of Commons, where I am at present chairing The Environment Bill through its Committee stage. While the situation that our country, and indeed the world, faces is serious and warrants sensible precaution it is also necessary to maintain a sense of proportion. We can and will see our way through this difficulty, as we have had to endure other challenges, by working together and supporting and caring for each other.”
Ramsgate Care Centre
Ramsgate Care Centre residential home in Boundary Road shut to visitors on Tuesday (March 10) as a precaution due to a suspected case within a one mile radius. The centre has 41 elderly residents.
Owners Select Healthcare Group’s operation director Brett Bernard said: “We would like assure relatives and stakeholders we have no suspected cases of COVID-19 within the home and this measure has been taken for prevention and to protect the vulnerable adults in our care. Additional measures have also been put in to place within the home.
“Posters, increased infection control and restrictive visiting is already in place. We are assessing the situation daily and will makes appropriate changes when needed.”
St Lawrence College
Results of a test are due for a staff member from St Lawrence College in Ramsgate who went into isolation. The teacher recently returned from an organised Latin trip to the south of Italy.
At Broadstairs Education Centre language school there have been student cancellations and staff are currently working reduced hours due to the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The centre, which has 10 dormitories at its St Peters Park Road base, says the immediate effects of the outbreak are ‘undeniable’ but directors are putting in short and long term plans to protect staff jobs, homestay providers and contractors.
BEC says some Spring bookings have been moved back but has iterated that there is no ‘notion of collapse’ and the school expects to continue flourishing during the second half of year. Bosses say where appropriate, staff will be offered the chance to take up annual leave. It is understood BEC is closing to students until mid-April.
Students and a staff member at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School in Ramsgate have self-isolated as a coronavirus (Covid-19) precaution.
In a message to parents the school said a parent of one of the students has been diagnosed with the virus. The student will self-isolate for 14 days. A member of staff who also had contact with the affected person has taken the same measures.
The children’s outpatient department at QEQM Hospital in Margate was also closed on March 4 after a patient -understood to be a child – presented with the possibility of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) virus.
Bay Tree Hotel, Broadstairs
The hotel has installed anti bacterial gel at the entrances along with wipes and anti bacterial wipes for guests to use plus more rigorous policies around cleaning.
The owners said: “In addition to our normal cleaning schedule we have introduced some additional procedures, and these will stay in place into the coronavirus threat is over
- Hand wipes and anti-bacterial gel is provided at the entrance lobby at the front door
- All door knobs, handles and locks in the public area are cleaned three times a day with anti-bacterial
cleaner. Similarly, with the stair rails. Guest room door furniture is cleaned once a day.
- In the en suite bathrooms, taps, showers and washbasins are cleaned with anti-bacterial cleaner each
- Service staff’s training on hand washing has been re-enforced and no food or drink will be served to
guests without staff thoroughly washing their hands first.
The Brit Inn Margate
The Brit Inn in Margate has ditched beer runners and staff will be cleaning the bar surfaces with sanitising agents every half hour or sooner if required. Hand sanitiser will be on bar at all times.
Helping each other
The Thanet community is pulling together to make sure help is offered to those who may have to self-isolate due to the coronvirus.
Numerous facebook page have posts advising those in self isolation who have a request for help with shopping or other errands to let the community know so arrangements can be made.
The Broadstairs facebook page has a pinned post where people can ask for help. Dozens of people have posted to the page to offer their services.
Find the post here
Current government advice
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started (see ending isolation section for more information)
- this action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious
- plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure you can successfully stay at home
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
- stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible
- sleep alone, if possible
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water
- stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
- you do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
Although China’s social organisation gives the best chance of fighting infection, I doubt the story that it is all over there.
Efforts to minimise or slow the progress of the disease, and to protect and mobilise medical personnel are vital. Other than that, unless you can go to the top of a mountain well clothed, with a tent and a good food and drink supply, social interraction will spread the disease. My mother was a devout Christian, which I am not, and she has passed on to me a certain acceptance of fate. She believed everything, good or bad, was God’s will.
This fatalism is not a bad thing in these circumstances.
I believe we need profound change in the way we live and share our wealth, and I allow myself a rueful thought about how this minor tremor to our way of life causes panic, whilst the certain catastrophes which will follow rapid global warning seem to be largely ignored, although it is an emergency which demands large immediate action.