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Senedd roundup: 101 new Covid-19 infections at Merthyr Tydfil food factory

29 Jun 2020 6 minute read
Photo by Julio Cesar Velasquez from Pixabay

Public Health Wales has confirmed 101 new cases of Covid-19 at the Kepak food factory in Merthyr Tydfil following testing at the weekend.

PHW tested 810 people on Saturday. In total there have now been 130 confirmed cases at the plant since April.
Daily figures published on Monday showed there had been 116 new Covid-19 cases across the whole of Wales, with 97 in Merthyr Tydfil.

“There are no plans to take any wider public health action, such as school or workplace closures, and no outbreak has been declared,” said Dr Giri Shankar from PHW.

Earlier on Monday First Minister Mark Drakeford also revealed contact tracers are still trying to find 150 people linked to the Rowan Foods coronavirus outbreak in Wrexham.

Testing at the site last week identified 300 people needing to be contacted in relation to the outbreak

Mr Drakeford said, “half have been resolved over the weekend”, but added the remainder were proving more difficult to contact as they were agency or casual staff

There are 66 Covid-19 infections at the Wrexham plant so far.

There have also been six new infections at the 2 Sisters food processing plant on Anglesey, over the weekend, taking the total there to 210 cases in the last 9 days.

The total number of deaths in Wales from coronavirus has increased to 1,507 as Public Health Wales confirmed three more people have dies due to the virus.

There have been 116 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours taking the total number of people that have tested positive to 15,717. PHW also reported 3,342 tests were carried out on Sunday. 

Royal Glamorgan Hospital

Calls for police probe as health chief gets £130,000 pay-out

Welsh Conservative health spokesperson Angela Burns has described as “a kick in the teeth” news that the former chief executive of scandal-hit Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has received a £131,000 golden handshake.

Allison Williams resigned from the position in August last year following an extended period of sick leave.

She had been under pressure to quit after an independent review into maternity services at the health board uncovered systematic failures in the care of pregnant women in childbirth and afterwards.

Following the report, the board’s maternity services were put in special measures.

Overall, 140 cases are being reviewed to determine if mothers and babies were harmed by the maternity care they received at units run by the health board.

A freedom of information request by WalesOnline earlier this year disclosed more than £3.5m has been paid out in compensation following mistakes and serious incidents in the board’s maternity units.

Overall, £3,575,687.27 was paid to affected families between 2016 and 2019.

“This is a kick in the teeth to the dozens of parents – left worrying and wondering about what really happened in the maternity unit run by Cwm Taf – who still have had no resolution to their tragic losses, whereas the former chief exec walks off with more than £130,000,” she said.

“We Welsh Conservatives renew our support for a police investigation as called for by parents into the failings at Cwm Taf.”

Testing centre in Cardiff. Photo Nation.Cymru

Processing of Covid-19 tests continues to slow.

The number of Covid-19 tests results returned within 24 hours is continuing to decline, according to the latest figures released by the government.

The speed at which tests are processed has slowed every week since the middle of May, despite the government stressing the importance of delivering results to that time frame as part of the track and trace programme introduced last month.

In April 68% of results came back within 24 hours but in the week up to 21 June just 50.7 were delivered the next day.

The report also shows that 84.4% of tests were processed within two days, and 94.1% within three days – the worst set of results since records began in April.

The majority of tests have been conducted at coronavirus testing units, where only 43.6% of tests are processed within 24 hours and 21% of tests have not been processed within 48 hours.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said measures were being put in place to speed up the process but said the percentage figures are misleading.

“As you increase the number of tests coming into the system, you can have falling percentages and rising numbers at the same time,” he said.

“We have very good turn around times indeed in the two outbreaks in north Wales,” he added, and pointed out “the number of tests being completed within 24 hours is hugely greater than it was at the start of this process.”

Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales. Picture by the Welsh Government

Progress made in moves to reopen pubs.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said work is ongoing to allow the hospitality industry to “safely reopen outdoors” but still hasn’t set a date for when pubs, bars and restaurants can welcome back customers.

The hospitality industry has been largely shut down since the lockdown measures to combat coronavirus were introduced in March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that pubs, hotels and restaurants could reopen in England from 4th July.

The industry reopens a day earlier in Northern Ireland and last week the Scottish Government announced beer gardens could open from 6 July, and pubs and restaurants can reopen from 15 July.

Speaking at Monday’s press briefing revealed there had been “continuing talks with the sector over the weekend”.

“We are getting near a definitive list of the measures needed to be put in place,” he added but said these would then need to be put before the chief medical officer for approval.”

Photo Vesna Harni from Pixabay

Minister thanks student nurses on coronavirus frontline

Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething has thanked student nurses for their work In the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

The minister also confirmed they will be paid up until the end of their deployment contracts before going on to earn their registration and start work full time or resume their studies in the coming weeks.

Over 2,000 student nurses were deployed to work in the NHS in Wales from April as the coronavirus put services under huge pressure.

Students nurses were offered three or six month paid contracts to help support health and care services as the pandemic reached its peak.

In a statement Mr Gething wrote: “Their contribution is hugely appreciated and valued and I am very proud of the part that student nurses and midwives have made in supporting health and care services in Wales, whilst also continuing with their education programmes.”

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