“Heed the new warnings” says Somerset’s Director of Public Health

Somerset’s Director of Public Health has urged people to strictly follow new health guidelines that have been published to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

The new guidelines published this week highlight that losing your sense of taste or smell is now a confirmed symptom of Coronavirus, along with a fever or dry continuous cough.

Director of Public Health Trudi Grant warns Somerset residents not to ignore symptoms and go to work, rather than self-isolating as government guidance sets out.

Trudi Grant said today: “Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have had a number of incidents where people have gone to work despite people in their household having symptoms.  This leads to further infections. To make it really clear, if anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 you must self-isolate.”

“If you lose or have a change in your sense of taste or smell or a fever or a new dry cough, you must self-isolate for at least 7 days or longer if the symptoms persist, even if the other symptoms do not appear. If your symptoms start to worsen, use the 111 service to obtain medical advice.  Anyone you live with in the same household should self-isolate for 14 days.

“There is also a new NHS portal for the public to arrange their own COVID-19 testing, more information can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/”

With more fine weather forecast, Councillor Clare Paul, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Well-being and Climate Change at Somerset County Council has also urged people locally to respect social distancing guidelines and not be tempted to crowd into tourist “hot spots”.

“It is critical we do not do anything that could increase the spread of the virus just when it looks as if we may be getting it under control,” Councillor Paul added.

For more information on coronavirus and how to stay healthy happy and safe, please visit www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19

For more information about Somerset County Council’s response to the coronavirus emergency please visit www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus, where you can also sign up for regular email updates.

In addition a single phone number is also available for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support from their councils. The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, makes it easier for people to access any local authority help they may need, including emotional support, during the current crisis. Lines are open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm.