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Publicly-available testing for coronavirus set to continue while Newark remains on government watchlist




The director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire says that while Newark remains on the government's watchlist for covid-19 at-risk places residents will continue to be able to access testing for the virus.

At a virtual press conference, the Advertiser asked Jonathan Gribbin about the mobile testing unit that has been in Newark but has now moved to Balderton.

Jonathan Gribbin speaking in today's virtual press conference. (41429201)
Jonathan Gribbin speaking in today's virtual press conference. (41429201)

The fact the mobile testing unit has moved to Baldeton did not mean there was a spike there, he said.

Earlier this month the Chesters pub closed for ten days after the landlord and landlady both contracted the virus.

Mr Gribbin said: "There were cases there a couple of weeks ago but the decision was taken to move the mobile testing unit around the area so communities have ready access to testing.

The mobile testing centre has been at Castle House in Newark. (41277904)
The mobile testing centre has been at Castle House in Newark. (41277904)

"Moving the mobile testing unit itself provides an opportunity to refresh the communications to residents and I think we're likely next week to be moving it again.

"Our intention is to make sure that for as long as Newark is an area of concern on the government's watchlist we are able to make sure that residents have ready access to testing.

"Whether its in a mobile testing unit of the sort that we've deployed up until now or through access to tests through other arrangements, we want to make sure that residents there have ready access to testing.

The mobile testing centre has been at Castle House in Newark. (41277898)
The mobile testing centre has been at Castle House in Newark. (41277898)

"I think in the months ahead we're likely to see a greater diversity of testing arrangements whereas up until now what we have seen in Nottinghamshire is this mobile testing centre moving around."

The current threat level for coronavirus is three on a scale of one to five, five being the extreme.

The national picture is no longer improving, with a small but steady increase in cases and Nottinghamshire mirrors that position, said Mr Gribbin.

Mr Gribbin said the small but steady increase was, for the most part, in working age people that thankfully was not at present resulting in covid-related activity for the NHS locally or in hospital admissions because that age group won't have added health complications.

Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire. (41192570)
Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire. (41192570)

He said sporadic and mostly small outbreaks that spring up were being monitored daily and incident management teams mobilised across the county to take action in response.

He said those outbreaks could represent between two cases and something much larger, something like what is being addressed in Newark.

Today's press conference was dominated by the situation in Newark, because that is where most attention has been focused following a cluster at the Bakkavor dessert factory.

Mr Gribbin said he was pleased to report that as of today there had been 46 cases in Newark and Sherwood in the past fortnight, a drop from the low sixties reported last week.

As of yesterday, there had been six new cases in the previous seven days.

"That represents a very satisfactory decrease in the number of cases," said Mr Gribbin.

"Things are moving in right direction. This is cause for encouragement, not a cause for relaxation.

"I would underline again and acknowledge all of the hard work that residents around Newark have put in, and local businesses around Newark have put in, in making sure that everyone adheres to the guidance.

"This is not a cause for relaxation at this point at all, rather it is a cue to remind ourselves and our residents and our businesses that the hard work they have been putting in place to follow all of the guidance represents, for the time being, all of the measures that all of us need to be following in the months ahead.

"The message really is that we can receive some encouragement from the way the numbers are heading, but its really important that we keep going and continue to stick to the measures that have been put in place so far.

"We cannot rest on our laurels and need to keep our guard up."

Extra guidance remains in place for Newark such as avoiding visiting people in care homes or staging large gatherings.

It was reported that rates in other borough and districts of the county were fluctuating, but overall coming from a much lower base than Newark and Sherwood.

There had been concerns over Bassetlaw last week, but those concerns had eased to a degree this week.



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