Covid contact tracing under way in Essex

Covid contact tracing under way in Essex
Covid contact tracing under way in Essex

Contact tracing is under way in Essex after an outbreak of the new Omicron variant was linked to a KFC restaurant, a church and a primary school. 

Essex County Council confirmed that contract tracers were focusing on individuals who visited Brentwood High Street's KFC restaurant as well as those who attended Trinity Church in Pilgrim's Hatch on November 21.  

Pupils and staff at Larchwood Primary School are also being tested for the new Covid-19 strain and one class has switched to remote learning after a link to the 'rapidly spreading' variant.

Anyone who visited the KFC outlet between 1pm and 5pm on November 19, or the Trinity Church on November 21, must now get tested, the council said.    

A Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) was deployed to the KFC branch yesterday to drop off test kits to staff and individuals who attended the Church or KFC are being urged to attend the two sites set up in Brentwood for testing.

The latest case comes as Dr Mike Gogarty, the director of public health for Essex County Council, urged residents to work from home if they could in an an effort to 'prevent this thing getting a grip and starting to spread this side of Christmas.'    

The case in Brentwood is linked to a case in Nottingham involving international travel to Southern Africa.  

Essex County Council confirmed that contract tracers were focusing on individuals who attended Brentwood High Street's KFC restaurant and Trinity Church and Larchwood Primary School in Pilgrim's Hatch

Essex County Council confirmed that contract tracers were focusing on individuals who attended Brentwood High Street's KFC restaurant and Trinity Church and Larchwood Primary School in Pilgrim's Hatch

Anyone who visited the KFC outlet on Brentwood High Street (pictured) between 1pm and 5pm on November 19 must now get tested, the council said

Anyone who visited the KFC outlet on Brentwood High Street (pictured) between 1pm and 5pm on November 19 must now get tested, the council said

Trinity Church in Pilgrim's Hatch (pictured) said they were working with NHS Test & Trace to support their efforts in regards to this new variant

Trinity Church in Pilgrim's Hatch (pictured) said they were working with NHS Test & Trace to support their efforts in regards to this new variant

Pupils and staff at Larchwood Primary School are also being tested for the new Covid-19 strain and one class has switched to remote learning

Pupils and staff at Larchwood Primary School are also being tested for the new Covid-19 strain and one class has switched to remote learning 

In a joint statement Essex County Council and Larchwood Primary School said: 'Following further contact tracing of the known Omicron Covid-19 case in Brentwood, it has been confirmed that there is a link to Larchwood Primary School based in Pilgrims Hatch.

'The UK Health and Security Agency, Department of Health and Social Care, Larchwood Primary School and colleagues from Essex County Council and Brentwood Council have worked together to take necessary precautionary action to prevent the spread. 

'This includes making specialist testing available for all pupils and school staff and confirming arrangements for remote learning for one class.

'We appreciate that this is an unsettling time for parents, pupils and the school community but we take the time to remind everyone that this is a precautionary measure.'

Meanwhile Trinity Church said: 'Since the news emerged of a person in Brentwood testing positive for the new variant of Covid, we have been working with NHS Test & Trace within the past 24 hours to support their efforts in regards to this new variant.

'Whilst the person identified did not actually attend Trinity on the 21st of November, someone connected with them did attend and so we have encouraged all members to follow NHS Test & Trace requests and be tested at the identified testing sites.

'Trinity has been fully supportive throughout the pandemic of efforts to protect the community with our onsite procedures and continuing to provide online services for the vulnerable. 

'We will continue to support efforts to combat the spread of this new variant where required.'

A KFC spokesperson told MailOnline: 'We're working closely with the local Covid Enforcement team and Test & Trace after a recent guest at our KFC Brentwood restaurant tested positive for the Omicron variant. 

'All team members at the restaurant have volunteered to take a PCR test as part of the targeted testing. We'd also encourage anyone who visited our restaurant on Friday 19th November between 1pm & 5pm to help these efforts. 

'Operating responsibly remains our top priority, so we continue to follow all necessary guidance to maintain a safe, clean environment for our guests and teams.' 

Earlier today, Dr Mike Gogarty, the director of public health for Essex County Council, urged residents to work from home to 'reduce levels of spread'. 

New cases of the Omicron variant have now been found in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Nottingham, Brentwood, Camden, Wandsworth and Westminster

New cases of the Omicron variant have now been found in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Nottingham, Brentwood, Camden, Wandsworth and Westminster 

Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that face masks will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport as part of a handful of measures to stop the spread of the variant

Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that face masks will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport as part of a handful of measures to stop the spread of the variant

He told Heart News East: 'I would say if you can work from home work from home. There's no point going to work if you don't have to go to work.

'Every little bit will reduce the levels of spread that we have. I just think it's really important that we do

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