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The latest on local coronavirus testing from Hywel Dda University Health Board

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Whilst there are some problems across the UK in the booking of local COVID-19 tests; Hywel Dda University Health Board is assuring people that local tests are being carried out in all three counties.

The health board is aware of difficulties reported by local people in accessing tests via the UK Booking Portal and 119 bilingual telephone service. This is due to an increase in demand for COVID-19 tests across the UK.

In some cases, the site is not showing access to local testing sites and only showing testing available in eastern parts of Wales, England or Scotland. At other times, the system is completely unavailable.

The Welsh Government has raised the issue with the UK Government.

Director of Therapies and Health Science for Hywel Dda University Health Board Alison Shakeshaft said: “Please be assured that we do have local testing capacity within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and we are speaking with partners to support resolution of the booking issues. Local people should not need to travel excessive distances to access a test.”

Tests are available via appointment only to members of the public at the Showground, Carmarthen; Canolfan Rheidol in Aberystwyth and Pembrokeshire Archives in Haverfordwest. These are drive-through sites, please do not turn up on site on foot or without an appointment as you will be turned away.

Hywel Dda University Health Board also has several venues for the testing of patients coming into hospital or undergoing certain treatments, across the three counties. These venues are not publically announced as they are for a target audience, by direct appointment, and are subject to different opening times and to change.

Alison said: “Thank you to our communities for working with us to Keep Hywel Dda Safe.”

How and when to book a test?

Members of the public can help by booking test appropriately, only when they have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms.

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • loss of or change to sense of smell or taste
  • To book a test, visit the UK Booking Portal, https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test or ring 119. If you experience a problem with the system, please try again later in the day or evening as test appointments are refreshed.

If you or a member of your household develop any of these symptoms, the entire household should immediately self-isolate. This means staying at home, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You should book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is unnecessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school/work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

If the test is negative, self-isolation can end for everyone, children may return to school and parents can return to work if they are well enough to do so and as long as nobody else in the household has developed symptoms.

For non-household contacts, if a person has been in contact with an individual experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual receives their test result. If this is positive, the Test, Trace, Protect Team will contact those people identified as contacts and advise accordingly.

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Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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