Two more positive tests in Shropshire caravan park coronavirus outbreak

Another two people have tested positive in a Covid-19 outbreak at a caravan park in Shropshire

The children's park, now closed off
The children's park, now closed off

Shropshire Council confirmed 23 people had tested positive for the virus at the Long Lane site as of Monday, a rise of two on Sunday.

It has been linked to a similar recent outbreak at Leighton Arches travellers park in Welshpool.

Shropshire Council said offers of testing to all residents at the site continue, and that it is possible further positive cases will be seen in coming days, before infection control measures and social distancing start to take effect.

However one woman who lives in the town, but not at the caravan park, said she had called the NHS to book a test only to be told to phone back next week.

'No record of an outbreak'

Jean MacDonald, 63 and from Market Street, said: “I live in the town and I use a local shop so I thought i would get myself tested. This morning a phoned the NHS 119 number as advised in the Shropshire Star article.

"But the lady who answered said she had got no record of there being an outbreak in Craven Arms.

“Then she said I should call back next week to book an appointment.

“I was really taken aback by the response. I think it’s disgusting to be told to wait a week.”

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Police have said the risk of catching the virus is low to the general public, but to remain vigilant with all the precautions.

Inspector Nikki Roberts said: “This is an outbreak on a confined site. Risk to the general public is low but please stick to the two-metre rule, wear a mask and wash your hands. Look after yourself, look after your community.”

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health said: “We can confirm that there have been two further positive cases and we may see the number of cases increase in the following days as we await the results of any further testing.

“Cluster outbreaks are not uncommon during a pandemic and we would like to reassure people that the risk is still very low. We are continuing to provide Long Lane residents on-site support, as well as guidance to help keep them and their loved ones safe."

'We must act quickly'

Councillor Lee Chapman, local member for Church Stretton and Craven Arms and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board added: “I appreciate that this will be of concern, and I want to reassure people that we have put robust measures in place since the start of the outbreak keep everyone safe.

"Where local positive cases develop, we must find them and act quickly to prevent further spread and we are grateful to Public Health England and local partners for their support."

The playground and outdoor gym in Newington Way in the town were closed over the weekend as precautionary measures were put in place, and the council also delivered food, fuel and essentials to people on the Long Lane site while they self-isolate.

'Sombre mood'

It comes as things are beginning to return to what is being described as the “new normal”, with shops, pubs, gym, attractions and other facilities reopening with Covid-19 measures in place.

But people seem to still be going about their usual business while following the rules.

Harry Delves, owner of Tuffins supermarket, said Public Health England had been in contact about the cases and are happy with virus measures in place in the store.

The shop has been a lifeline to the community during the lockdown period and staff are at the ready to step up again if needed.

He added: “It’s a sombre mood if anything. Until we have a vaccine, this is the sort of thing that is going to happen. We’ve got all the social distancing measures in place and sanitiser so we’re ready to keep welcoming customers.

“People still seem to be going about their business. There’s been an outbreak at the caravan park. It’s been contained as far as we’re aware.

“Our main focus is on the wellbeing of people in the local area. If we’re asked to do anything we will do.” Food, prescriptions and essential items have been handed out to people self-isolating at the caravan park, and Tuffins have been doing free home deliveries to hundreds of homes since the start of lockdown."

How to get tested

A test site was set up for local residents at Craven Arms Business Park on Saturday and will be open for the next two weeks every day from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Testing is by appointment only, with residents asked to book an appointment via NHS Test and Trace online or by ringing 119.

If you live in Craven Arms you do not need to have symptoms to book a test, however anyone else is asked to book only if you have symptoms, live with someone with symptoms or have been told to book a test before going into hospital.

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