Public Health Info

29th May 2021
We have been asked to share the following information with parents from Wirral Public Health. 
Covid rates in Wirral remain very low and are currently the lowest across Cheshire and Merseyside. However, as predicted and expected (with the easing of lockdown restrictions) there are signs of increasing cases across Cheshire and Merseyside and there are very high rates in several areas across the North West. 
Across the UK, we currently have 5 Variants of Concern (VOCs) and 8 VUIs  (Variants of Investigation), so managing variants will be an inevitable part of life as we move forward. You will be aware that the main VOC at present is that of the Indian Variant which is now expected to become the dominant strain for many areas. For Wirral, we currently have very low numbers of confirmed Indian variant cases, but this is being closely monitored and there is also a delay of a few days between someone being confirmed positive via PCR and Public Health knowing whether they have a VOC or not. 
Please see the following guidelines from Wirral Public Health: 
If a parent of carer is experiencing one of the 3 main COVID symptoms and is waiting for the results of a PCR test, they should NOT send their children into school while they are awaiting the results. If a parent/carer is waiting for a PCR result, both they and their children could potentially be infectious and therefore the children should not be attending school while the parent is waiting for their test result. If the parent receives a negative PCR result, their children can return to school. If the parent/carer receives a positive result, they and their family members have to self-isolate for the full 10 days. 
Parents/carers should be reminded NOT to use home Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) to test whether symptomatic primary-age children have COVID or not. While convenient to use these at home, the difficulty in carrying out a nasal and throat swab with a young child means that the test results are often not valid. Also everyone, who has at least one of the 3 main COVID symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste/and/or smell) should have a PCR test. If parents have a symptomatic child, they need to book a supervised PCR test (see for details.)
Public Health England have today confirmed that ALL COVID cases in the North West will be considered as likely Indian variant unless/until proven otherwise. Whilst being managed in exactly the same way, the recommendation at this stage (and until further notice) is that all school contacts of confirmed cases of COVID will need to be offered a PCR whether they have symptoms or not. This is for the purpose of active case-finding. Staff, pupils and parents should be directed to to book this test. They will be asked to identify whether they have COVID symptoms. If they have no symtoms, they should select 'No' for this answer and proceed through the questions until they get to the question: Why are you asking for a test? They should select the box that says- I've been told to get a test by my local council, health protection team or healthcare professional... And then the option that states: My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms. They can then proceed to book the test. 
Thank you for your continued support and understanding. Have a lovely half term break.
Stay safe and we look forward to seeing all our children back in school on Monday 7th June 2021. 
Kind regards, 
Mrs McAleny