Posted on Thursday 18th February 2021
People who are known to have been in contact with an employee at a Tamworth business who has since identified as having the South African Covid variant are to be offered testing.
The precautionary measure will ensure all contacts of the employee are offered a home test, which if positive will then undergo genetic sequencing for the variant.
Although there is no evidence to suggest the South African variant is any more serious or infectious than any of the other variants currently circulating in the UK, public health partners are trying to chart the spread of this variant.
Staffordshire County Council, Public Health England and Tamworth Borough Council have worked together to organise testing for contacts. This is believed to be around 50 people largely in Tamworth borough, and a small number in the Lichfield district.
All contacts have been identified and are being contacted individually. There is no need for anyone else to take further action other than following the national rules and taking a regular community test if they have essential reasons to leave home.
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council’s Director of Health and Care, said:
We are aware that someone working in Tamworth has tested positive for the South African variant.
While the risk of community transmission is very small, we want to proactively test anyone who may have been in close contact with this person so we can help identify if there are any other cases and help break the chain of infection.”
The close contacts will be contacted and offered a home test on Friday, with Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service and Tamworth Borough Council colleagues delivering and collecting the kits.
Contacts should ONLY use the home testing kit, rather than visiting a local testing site or ordering a test online, as we need to have the specific logging details provided for reasons of surveillance.
Anyone with symptoms should book a test online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus