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Director of Public Health Devon urges all residents to heed advice at all times

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Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon and Chair of the multi-agency COVID-19 Health Protection Board, said today:

“Nationally, you’ll be aware that the number of confirmed cases in some areas are rising, which has led to tighter restrictions being introduced.

“Although Devon’s rates have been comparatively low so far, we cannot be complacent.

“Just like the rest of the country, we have seen a significant rise in the number of confirmed cases in September.

“Not all new cases are now linked to returning international travellers, which was the pattern we had seen recently.

“We must remember that coronavirus is still a very real threat to us all, especially to our older and vulnerable residents.

“It’s very easy, with the relaxation of restrictions we’ve had over recent months- the call for people to return to work and to support our high streets; our children returning to schools, colleges and soon to Universities – to believe that life is back to normal.

“It is not back to normal.  The virus is still here and it is very easy to get infected, especially indoors.  I am therefore urging all Devon residents, of all ages, but specifically to our younger residents who perhaps do not feel the risk felt by older and more vulnerable residents, to follow the public health advice at all times:

  • Keep a safe distance (ideally 2m away from other people)
  • Maintain hand hygiene at all times, through handwashing and regular use of hand sanitiser
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces to protect others, where recommended

“Remember as well, if a member of your household has tested positive, you MUST self-isolate for 14 days.  You do not need to have a test yourself unless you have any of the symptoms – that’s a new and continuous cough; high temperature; or change to your sense of smell and taste.

“We are continuing to monitor the data very closely so that we can react immediately to situations as they arise.  But we also need you, the Devon public, to carry on doing your bit to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading in our county this autumn.”

Public Health Devon is also reminding people of what to do if they do test positive:

If you live with others, all other household members need to stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period.

It is very important that people with symptoms of or a positive COVID-19 test and their household members stay at home. Staying at home will help prevent the spread of the virus to family, friends, the wider community, and particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test, then you should avoid contact with other household members as much as possible.

Other members of your household, including those who do not have any symptoms, need to stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. Do not go out even to buy food or other essentials, and any exercise should be taken within your home.