Statement from Dr Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and Chair of the Incident Management Team (which includes Public Health Wales, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff local authorities and South Wales Police).
“Despite the increased measures and local lockdown in Rhondda Cynon Taf earlier this week, cases of Coronavirus across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area are continuing to rise and are a real cause for concern.
“Frustratingly, some people are still not following the guidelines and are letting their guard down, especially when they are with people they know well.
“Coronavirus does not just affect the elderly and vulnerable. It can affect any of us. The rise in cases in the 40+ age group shows that transmission is occurring between close contacts; that’s between friends and family members.
“Across our Cwm Taf Morgannwg region, we are also seeing a variation of patterns of transmission from small clusters to large numbers of cases.
“The Incident Management Team fully recognises that the increase in positive cases follows different patterns across the county boroughs of Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
“Broadly speaking, across Rhondda Cynon Taf, cases generally relate to multiple numbers of small clusters. In Merthyr we are seeing fewer clusters but these comprise larger numbers of cases.
“Over the past seven days, there has been a sharp increase of cases within the borough of Bridgend. This is a real cause for concern and this developing situation is being monitored very closely.
“Again, I urge everyone to follow the rules and be very cautious.
“It has never been more important for everyone living in these communities to follow the advice and guidance of the agencies responsible for managing this developing situation. We are aware of misinformation circulating in the public domain.
“Please trust us, trust in our messaging, in our communication to you. It could save lives.
“Please only use trusted sources of information from your local authority, Public Health Wales, local health board and Welsh Government.
“The simple truth is that hospital admissions are rising; this is NOT a myth. Coronavirus is a very real and present threat to all our health.
“If we don’t all stick to the public health regulations, the number of admissions will continue to rise over the coming weeks and, as we have observed in Europe, is scientifically proven to show the virus can quickly spread from community transmissions to hospital admissions.”
“I fully recognise and understand the impact of delays experienced by some in accessing testing. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to increase the capacity of our mobile testing units as well as reducing the turnaround times for receiving test results.
“There are three testing units in the Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf area. Up to date information on these testing centres can be found on the local health board and local authority social media pages.
“I want to thank our communities for everything they have done over the past week to play their part in driving down transmission of this virus. We are starting to see a change in behaviour and I am grateful to everyone for doing what they can to keep themselves, their families, friends and neighbours safe.
“Please, keep working with us by sticking to social distancing guidelines, so that we can protect older and vulnerable people from Coronavirus.”
To find out more about testing centres, go to: https://gov.wales/regional-coronavirus-testing-facilities#section-42354
“We urge you to please only get a test if you have one of these symptoms:
“If you or a member of your household develop symptoms of cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, you must book a test for Coronavirus promptly to help control the spread of infection.
“The public has a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus by always observing social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others - washing hands regularly with soap or by using alcohol based sanitiser, and working from home if they can and wearing a face covering in accordance with Welsh Government’s regulations.
“People who test positive for Covid-19 should continue to self–isolate for 10 days.”