Here is what we know so far about the Worthing coronavirus case.
- Yesterday (February 11), a healthcare worker from the A&E department at Worthing Hospital was confirmed as one of the eight diagnosed coronavirus cases in the UK.
- They treated a small number of patients on February 4 and 5 before they became unwell, the trust that runs Worthing Hospital said.
- The staff member then followed NHS advice and isolated themselves.
- Public Health England is contacting all patients seen by this individual and colleagues who came into close contact with them to advise on the precautions they need to take.
- In a memo to staff, the NHS said the risk to fellow workers was 'extremely low'.
- All services at Worthing Hospital, including surgery and outpatient appointments, are operating normally. A Worthing Hospital spokesman said: "We would like to ask the public to help minimise pressure on A&E services by using alternative options for treatment of non-emergency conditions whenever possible."
How did it get to Worthing?
- Scout leader Steve Walsh, from Hove - who has since identified himself - contracted the virus in Singapore and then travelled to a ski resort in France, where 11 people were infected. Of those 11, five people returned to the UK, including two GPs. Mr Walsh also came back to the UK, and was quarantined.
- Between them, these two GPs worked in surgeries in Brighton, which have been deep cleaned, a nursing home in Patcham and Worthing Hospital.
- It was one of these GPs that worked in the hospital's A&E department, the BBC reported.
At 12pm today, deputy chief executive and chief medical officer Dr George Findlay released the following statement:
“All services at Worthing Hospital, including our emergency department, remain open. Patients with planned appointments and surgery should also attend as normal.
“As soon as it was confirmed that a healthcare worker from our A&E department was one of the eight confirmed Coronavirus cases, Public Health England immediately began contacting all patients and staff who came into close contact with them. They are now being advised on the precautions they need to take.
“It’s important to stress that if you do need emergency care, our experienced and skilled staff are here for you. But we are asking people to help minimise pressure on A&E services by using alternative options for treatment of non-emergency conditions wherever possible.
“I am hugely proud of everyone working across our hospitals today and every day to provide the highest standards of care for all our patients.”
What is coronavirus?
The disease - known as COVID-19 - causes flu-like symptoms such as coughs, fever and breathing difficulties, as well as pneumonia. Like other coronaviruses, it spread to humans from animals. The first reported cases were at a food market in Wuhan, China, that sold live and newly slaughtered animals. Because it is a virus, antibiotics will not work and recovery depends on the strength of your immune system, meaning the young and elderly are most vulnerable. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) was also a coronavirus.
What should you do if you think you have the coronavirus?
- Anyone who is concerned can contact NHS 111 for advice. Do not go to A&E if you are experiencing symptoms.
- Public Health England gave the following advice:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.