Councillor tests positive for Covid-19 days after Hertfordshire County Council meeting

Health bosses have written to everyone who attended the six-hour meeting

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 12:00 pm

Public health officials have written to everyone who attended a meeting of Hertfordshire County Council last week - after a councillor tested positive for Covid-19.

More than 70 councillors attended the six-hour meeting - with staff and members of the public also attending, either in part or in full.

But now it has emerged that one councillor has tested positive for Covid-19 two days after the meeting.

Health officials believe the infection was a result of household transmission - but have written to everyone who attended the meeting

And although officials believe that the infection is as a result of household transmission - rather than attendance at the meeting - they have contacted everyone who was there.

In a letter - which does not identify the councillor involved - councillors are told that 'contact tracing' of those who were seated next to the individual in the council chamber is already in hand.

It recommends councillors continue to take lateral flow tests, as advised before attending meetings or events, and to self-isolate and take a PCR if they develop symptoms.

But even for those who have not been fully vaccinated, it offers the reassurance that 'the nature of the circumstances is that your risk of transmission is low'.

Tuesday's meeting was the first time that the full council had met in the council chamber, at County Hall, Hertford, since February 2020.

Council meetings had been held virtually until May, as part of measures put in place to halt the spread of Covid-19 in 2020.

But since May councils have been legally compelled to hold their council meetings 'in-person'.

And Tuesday Hertfordshire County Council had opted to shift its full council meetings to the Gordon Craig Theatre, in Stevenage - in order to enable social distancing.

A number of the council's committees - including cabinet, development control and Overview and Scrutiny Committee - have already met in the chamber.

But cabinet panels - which are advisory rather than decision-making bodies - have continued to meet virtually.

The letter to councillors in the wake of last week's council meeting was sent by email on Monday (October 25).

And officials have also written to members of the public and Press who attended.

Commenting on the situation, a spokesperson for the county council said: “Public Health have advised that when an infection is reported following a large workplace based meeting where people are relatively easily contactable, everyone in attendance be informed in writing so they can take precautions.

"This has been done in addition to reassurance that contract tracing is underway so we can continue to encourage people wider than close contacts to follow national guidance including regular lateral flow tests and, should they develop symptoms, to isolate and book a PCR test.”