Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Birmingham – Birmingham City Council Official Statement
05 March 2020
It has been confirmed that a patient in Birmingham has tested positive for COVID-19.
The UK Chief Medical Officer has confirmed that there are further positive cases for COVID-19 infection today (5 March 2020) in the UK.
One of these cases is a resident of Birmingham. Public Health England (PHE) is working closely with NHS colleagues and Birmingham City Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.
PHE is currently contacting people who may have had close contact with the confirmed case. Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after they had contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure that any risk to them is minimised and the wider public is protected.
Birmingham City Council’s Director of Public Health, Justin Varney said: “This new case of coronavirus is nothing unexpected. We expected that at some point we would have our first case and we have worked with partners in the NHS and PHE and our services have planned for this, and are ready, for this situation.
“I’d like to reassure citizens that the risk to the general public remains low and Birmingham City Council is working with partners to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Birmingham are protected.
“Current evidence indicates that most cases appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. Older residents or those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions may experience more severe symptoms, which is why it is important to help protect ourselves and each other. This is a good reminder to all of us to check in on neighbours and loved ones and be conscious of each other.
“Following Government guidance to take basic hygiene precautions remains the best way of significantly reducing the chances of spreading any virus: sneeze or cough into a tissue, bin it, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face unless you’ve just washed your hands. We should do this regularly throughout the day.
“Good regular cleaning with normal detergent of surfaces people touch regularly or may cough onto, like door handles and lift buttons, is also sensible. People should log onto https://gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest advice and information.”
Katie Spence, Deputy Director, Health Protection, Public Health England West Midlands said: “Public Health England is contacting people who had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 who is a Birmingham resident. We’re working closely with local NHS colleagues as well as Birmingham City Council to manage the situation and help reduce the risk of further cases.
“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details to use if they become unwell in the 14 days after contact with the confirmed case. This tried and tested method will ensure we are able to minimise any risk to them and the wider public. We will not be commenting further on the details of this particular case due to the need to protect patient confidentiality.”
PHE and the NHS are well-prepared to deal with coronavirus and the priority is to safeguard local communities which sometimes involves taking preventative measures to help reduce the risk of further cases.
The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents and there is rapid and effective testing undertaken by PHE for this virus. The NHS has expert teams of highly-trained staff and specialist hospital units around the country ready to receive and care for any patients with any highly infectious disease. The NHS adheres to the highest safety standards for the protection of its staff, patients and the public.
Based on current evidence, Coronavirus COVID-19 presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. Anyone who is concerned about health symptoms is advised to follow the advice about what to do on the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
The multi-agency response team will update this briefing for partners as more information becomes available.