Omicron Covid-19 case

Omicron Covid-19 case

30 November

Update: Omicron Covid-19 case in Brentwood

Following the announcement on 28 November and as a result of further contact tracing, Essex County Council’s Public Health Team and the UK Health Security Agency are advising staff, customers and delivery workers who visited the KFC on Brentwood High Street on Thursday 18 November, between 3pm and 5pm, to take a PCR test immediately.

This is an additional request following Sunday’s announcement, where the KFC had already been a focus of targeted testing activity for customer and staff between 1 and 5pm on Friday 19 November. Both requests have resulted from contact tracing and are linked to the same, single confirmed Covid-19 case involving the Omicron Variant of Concern (B 1.1.529).

Individuals who attended the KFC during this time period should attend the Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) below but must do so only for drive-through appointments.

When booking a PCR test, individuals must tick that they have been directed to take a test by their Local Authority. Any young people under 18 years old who attended these venues, must be accompanied by a guardian when attending an MTU.

If an individual has tested positive in the past 90 days, they do not need to take another PCR test in this instance, unless they develop new Covid-19 symptoms.

Anyone in the Brentwood area of Essex who has Covid-19 symptoms, even if mild, should isolate immediately and book a PCR test. They must isolate until they receive a negative result.

Anyone who was at the KFC and does not have symptoms, should still get a PCR test but are not required to self- isolate unless their PCR test returns a positive result.

If an individual tests positive, has any symptoms, or is contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive, they should self-isolate immediately. 

While the risks of any individual being infected with Omicron are low, it is essential we identify all cases early. Essex County Council’s Public Health team Would recommend that everyone in Essex without Covid-19 symptoms, carries out lateral flow tests twice a week. This is because the Omicron symptoms may not be as obvious as with the Delta variant. This is especially important for Brentwood residents.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “It is really important that people in Essex, and especially in Brentwood, test regularly whether they have Covid-19 symptoms or not. This will help us to understand what, if any, spread of the new variant within the local community may have occurred and limit the opportunity for any further spread.”

Lateral Flow Tests are available free of charge in Brentwood from the following locations:

  • Brentwood Library, New Road, CM14 4BP
  • Ongar Road Pharmacy, 249 Ongar Road, Brentwood, CM15 9DZ
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (inside Sainsbury's), 51 William Hunter Way, CM14 4WQ
  • Boots, 51 High Street, CM14 4RH
  • The New Pharmacy, 33A High Street, Brentwood, CM14 4RG
  • Burntwood Pharmacy, 27 Shenfield Road, CM15 8AG

Other pick-up locations are also available. Please note, you will need a collection code for pharmacy sites. This can be also be retrieved via the same link.

Dr Mike Gogarty added: “While this work takes place, it is important that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.

“It is important to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, which is the aim of the additional testing. The quickest way of doing this is for individuals who test positive to self-isolate immediately.

“Even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their community safe. If you are contacted, please follow the instructions on testing you are given as soon as possible.”

29 November

Joint statement from Essex County Council and Larchwood Primary School:

"Following further contact tracing of the known Omicron Covid-19 case in Brentwood, it has been confirmed that there is a link to Larchwood Primary School based in Pilgrims Hatch.

"The UK Health and Security Agency, Department of Health and Social Care, Larchwood Primary School and colleagues from Essex County Council and Brentwood Council have worked together to take necessary precautionary action to prevent the spread. This includes making specialist testing available for all pupils and school staff and confirming arrangements for remote learning for one class.

"We appreciate that this is an unsettling time for parents, pupils and the school community but we take the time to remind everyone that this is a precautionary measure."

28 November

Targeted testing introduced in Brentwood following confirmed Omicron Covid-19 case

A branch of KFC in Brentwood High Street and Trinity Church in Pilgrim’s Hatch will be the focus of targeted testing activity following a recent confirmed Covid-19 case involving the Omicron Variant of Concern (B 1.1.529).

Testing will be overseen by regional UK Health Security Agency colleagues and Essex County Council’s Public Health Team, and additional PCR testing capacity will be available in Brentwood from tomorrow (Monday 29 November).

The case in Brentwood is linked to a case in Nottingham involving international travel to Southern Africa.

Both individuals who have tested positive for the new variant, as well as all members of their households, are being re-tested and have been told to self-isolate while contact tracing is underway. All close contacts of these individuals are being contacted and requested to isolate and get tested.

Members of the congregation who attended Trinity Church on Sunday 21 November, as well as staff, customers and delivery workers who visited the KFC on Brentwood High Street on Friday 19 November, between 1pm and 5pm, must take a PCR test immediately.

However, if an individual has tested positive in the past 90 days, they do not need to take another PCR test in this instance, unless they develop new Covid-19 symptoms.

Anyone who has visited either of these venues and does have Covid-19 symptoms, should isolate immediately and book a PCR. They must isolate until they receive a negative result.

For anyone who was at either of these venues and does not have symptoms- they should still get a PCR test but are not required to self- isolate. They should however self-isolate if their PCR test returns a positive result.

A Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) is being deployed to the KFC branch today (Sunday 28 November) to drop off test kits to staff. These tests must be registered online and any positive tests will be sent for genome sequencing to identify any potential further cases involving Omicron.

Individuals who attended the Church or KFC should attend the MTUs below but must do so only for drive-through appointments.

  • Basildon Cherrydown Car Park Mobile Testing Unit (open 9AM – 4PM) – please book via the national system
  • The Brentwood Centre Mobile Testing Unit (open 9AM – 4PM) – no booking required

When booking a PCR test, individuals must tick that they have been directed to take a test by their Local Authority.

Any young people under 18 years old who attended these venues, must be accompanied by a guardian when attending an MTU.

If an individual tests positive, has any symptoms, or is contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive, they should self-isolate immediately. 

Anyone who tests negative, must continue to follow current Covid-19 guidance. Support is available for anyone who is required to self-isolate.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Thanks to the excellent work of our contact tracers we have been able to identify two settings which are the focus of our attention for testing.

“The aim is to understand what, if any, spread of the new variant within the local community may have occurred and limit the opportunity for any further spread. Robust contact tracing has taken place following identification of the single case.

“While this work takes place, it is important that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.

“It is important to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible, which is the aim of the additional testing. The quickest way of doing this is for individuals who test positive to self-isolate immediately.

“Even if you are feeling well, I would urge everyone to play their part to keep their community safe. If you are contacted, please follow the instructions on testing you are given as soon as possible.”

Dr Ravi Balakrishnan, Consultant in Health Protection, UK Health Security Agency East said: “It is really important that those that have been identified as needing a PCR test linked to locations listed come forward and visit one of the mobile testing units in Brentwood. Omicron is a new variant and we have more work to do to understand how easily this can be transmitted, antibody response and how well the vaccines work to protect against it.

“If you have any COVID-19 symptoms you must self-isolate and get a PCR test. I urge everyone to take up their offer of a vaccine and booster, wear a mask in crowded places, shops and on public transport and continue to wash hands thoroughly and regularly. I thank the people of Brentwood for their support as the pandemic continues to throw us challenges.”

27 November

A spokesperson for Essex County Council said:

“We can confirm that a single case involving the new Covid-19 Variant of Concern (B 1.1.529), Omicron, has been identified in Brentwood*. This is linked to a single case from Nottingham involving international travel to Southern Africa.

“We are working with regional and local public health officers who are assessing the situation. All close contacts of these individuals will be followed up and requested to isolate and get tested.

“The individuals who have so far tested positive, as well as all members of their households, are being re-tested and have been told to self-isolate while contact tracing is underway.

“While this work takes place, it is important that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.”

*Please note that the case concerned is located in Brentwood, Essex, not Chelmsford as referred to in the Government’s release this afternoon.

Last updated 30 November 2021