Coronavirus Outbreak Shut Downs Second Brighton GP Surgery. Here's The Latest

Both are branches of the County Oak Medical Centre in East Sussex.
  • Second GP surgery branch in Brighton shuts down
  • Nursing home in Patcham closes to visitors
  • Some schools closed
  • Matt Hancock announces new NHS funding and powers to force people into quarantine

A second GP surgery branch in Brighton has been shut following the outbreak of coronavirus in the East Sussex city.

The County Oak Medical Centre on Monday closed “because of an urgent operational health and safety reason”, following reports a member of staff there was one of those infected.

On Tuesday morning it emerged that a second branch of the surgery – located less than two miles away – has also been closed.

A sign fixed to the door of the Deneway branch says: “The surgery is closed due to organisational health and safety reasons.

“Please contact 111 if you need to speak to a health professional.”

Speaking to the PA news agency on Tuesday outside County Oak Medical Centre where she is a patient, a 43-year-old mother-of-four from Brighton said: “I was here on the 3rd and the 5th and they will not tell me the risk even though I am immunosuppressed with lupus.”

She said she has called 111 several times but was told “the risk isn’t known” and to stay in for 14 days if she feels at risk.

“Nobody knows anything. It’s a farce. Everybody is worried about it.

“No-one can protect themselves and we can’t protect the public.

“I am going to ring 111 and [Public] Health England until I get some answers.”

The pharmacy at County Oak Medical Centre will reopen today, staff confirmed, but the surgery is expected to remain closed.

A school in Southampton has also closed for two days over concerns about the virus.

St Mary’s Independent School said the “precautionary” closure came after “members of the school community” became ill, having recently travelled to China.

Parents of pupils at Bevendean Primary School in Brighton have been told absences will be authorised after one of its staff was found to have been in contact with a person advised to “self-isolate” over the virus. The school is otherwise open.

A #Brighton primary school has said one of its staff has been in close contact with a person who has been advised to 'self-isolate' over the coronavirus. #Bevendean Primary is staying open but says it will authorise absences if parents want to keep children away from school.

— BBC Sussex (@BBCSussex) February 11, 2020

As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 1,358 people have been tested for coronavirus, of which 1,350 were confirmed negative and eight positive, the Department of Health said.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said the spread of coronavirus “will get worse before it gets better” as he announced greater powers and funding to help tackle the spread of the disease.

In a Commons statement, he told MPs: “Dealing with this disease is a marathon, not a sprint. The situation will get worse before it gets better.”

Hancock said the risk to the public “remains moderate” and the eight patients with confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK are receiving “expert care”.

Tracing those who have been in contact with the first four cases is “now complete” and tracing those who have been in contact with the remaining four cases is ongoing, he told MPs.

On new powers to force people to remain in quarantine, he said: “The powers are proportionate and will help us slow down the transmission of the virus and make it easier for NHS and public health staff to do their jobs.”

Hancock also announced new capital funding for the NHS if they need to create “further isolation areas and other necessary facilities”.

He said: “Today I can announce to the House the immediate launch of a capital facility to support any urgent works the NHS needs for the coronavirus response such as the creation of further isolation areas and other necessary facilities.”

Hancock told MPs: “The NHS has the capability now to cope with the very highest level of intensity and isolation with 50 cases and the capability to expand that to 500 cases and to do that without an impact on the wider work of the NHS.

“But of course, if the number of cases get bigger, then we will need to take further steps.”

Meanwhile, Patcham Nursing Home in Brighton said on Tuesday it has closed to all visitors after one of the infected GPs visited a patient there about a week ago.

A spokeswoman for the care home said: “It is important to state that no-one at the home is unwell.

“However, following the closure of the local GP surgery, as a precaution we have closed the home to all visitors.

“As a responsible care home and employer, we have put in place our own checks on residents and staff and Public Health England has confirmed it is happy with our actions.”

‘Fully recovered’

The businessman linked to several cases of coronavirus in the UK has been named as Steve Walsh, who said he has “fully recovered” from the illness.

According to several reports, the 53-year-old said in a statement: “I would like to thank the NHS for their help and care – whilst I have fully recovered, my thoughts are with others who have contracted coronavirus.

The Grenadier pub in Hove, East Sussex, one of the locations visited by the Brighton businessman, Steve Walsh, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The public house has said it has been told by Public Health England there is "minimal ongoing risk of infection to either guests or staff"
The Grenadier pub in Hove, East Sussex, one of the locations visited by the Brighton businessman, Steve Walsh, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The public house has said it has been told by Public Health England there is "minimal ongoing risk of infection to either guests or staff"

“As soon as I knew I had been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus I contacted my GP, NHS 111 and Public Health England.

“I was advised to attend an isolated room at hospital, despite showing no symptoms, and subsequently self-isolated at home as instructed.

“When the diagnosis was confirmed I was sent to an isolation unit in hospital, where I remain, and, as a precaution, my family was also asked to isolate themselves.

“I also thank friends, family and colleagues for their support during recent weeks and I ask the media to respect our privacy.”

A statement from the Scout Association said: “We are aware that Steve Walsh from the Brighton area who volunteers with the Scout Movement is suffering from coronavirus. He contracted the virus while out of the UK.

“This volunteer has not been to any Scout meetings since his return to the UK.

“We wish Steve well and hope he recovers soon.”


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