Dozens of additional cases of the worrying Indian variant were found in two coastal areas of Wales over the bank holiday weekend.
Public Health Wales has confirmed that 35 confirmed or suspected cases of the variant of concern first identified in India (VOC-21APR-02) are present in the areas of Llandudno Junction, Llandudno and Penrhyn Bay in North Wales.
It follows the discovery of 18 cases in this region on Friday, May 28, which means the total number now stands at 53. Conwy County now has the second highest Covid infection rate in the country of Wales.
Public Health Wales, Conwy County Borough Council and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board are urging people living in these areas to be vigilant for symptoms of the coronavirus and to get tested as soon as possible even if they have no symptoms.
Richard Firth, health protection consultant for Public Health Wales and chair of the multi-agency incident management team, said: “This is a rapidly changing situation. Please be alert for the symptoms of the coronavirus and get tested now.
“The emergence of so many new cases of this new transmissible variant of the coronavirus in the areas of Llandudno Junction, Llandudno and Penrhyn Bay is a reminder that we must not become complacent, even though virus rates across Wales remain low .
“Speed is key. The sooner we act, the better, so please show up for tests as soon as you can. The more people with symptoms that show up, the more we will find. More people can then be referred to the Test, Trace, Protect program, allowing contact tracers to intervene to stop the spread of this variant in the area.
“If you are contacted by contact tracers, please help protect your community by being honest with them about your travels and following their instructions.
“I also urge anyone aged 39 and under to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The Besti Cadwaladr University Health Council is holding vaccination sessions for people aged 39 and under today (Wednesday) and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Mass Vaccination Center in Venue Cymru, Llandudno.
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In addition to the three most common symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss / change in taste and smell – people can now be tested if they have a new list of other symptoms as well.
These are: flu-like symptoms, which are not caused by a condition known as hay fever, including some or all of: myalgia (muscle pain); excessive fatigue; persistent headaches; runny or stuffy nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and / or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing; any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test.
Current evidence is that the VOC-21APR-02 variant is at least as easy to catch as the dominant Kent variant, but it may be slightly more heritable. Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective against variants first identified in India after two doses.
In Wales, the number of cases of the worrying Indian variant currently stands at 58, but the number is expected to increase. The number of variant cases in Wales is reported on the Public Health Wales surveillance dashboard at 12 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
For residents without symptoms, Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests are available for collection from the mobile test unit at Ysgol Awel y Mynydd Sarn Mynach, Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9RZ. This is a walk-in center, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closed between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.).
Anyone with symptoms should come to Conwy Business Center, Junction Way, Llandudno Junction, LL31 9XX for a PCR test. It is a walk-in center, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closed between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.).