Sunderland salon owner speaks of frustration over 'unclear' guidance after client tests positive for Covid-19

The owner of a Sunderland salon which closed after a client tested positive for Covid-19 has spoke of her frustration over ‘unclear’ Public Health guidance to business owners and the zero contact from NHS Test and Trace.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 7:00 am

Debra Anne Adamson who owns Cloud 9 on Hylton Road, says she was initially told by Public Health at Sunderland City Council that she must close her salon for two weeks after a client tested positive for coronavirus in the days after her appointment.

After the client informed her about the positive result on Monday, September 28, Debra contacted the council’s Public Health team who she says informed her that she would have to close for two weeks as she had been in close contact with someone who has been infected.

Debra, who works with just one other staff member, began a two-week period of isolation and expected to receive a call from NHS Test and Trace to ensure that this was being carried out.

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Cloud 9 Hair & Beauty owner Debra Ann Adamson (L) has planned a midnight appointment to mark their reopening since lockdown. Pictured with staff member Caitlin Trotter.

However by Wednesday, September 30, Debra said NHS Test and Trace had still not contacted her and so she contacted Public Health a second time.

It was then that Debra was informed that it was only guidance to close, not law.

Debra said: “I was told on Monday by Public Health that I had to self isolate and close the salon as I had been in close contact with the client.

“But on the Wednesday I was told that I shouldn’t have been given that advice and it was guidance only, not law which would be enforced.

"Public Health have given me conflicting information and Test and Trace have still not been in touch.

“I could still have been at work now if I had not taken the initiative to contact Public Health as a responsible business person.

"This should not be happening. It’s so annoying and so soul destroying as a small business.”

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When contacted about this case a Sunderland City Council spokesman said that one of their Public Health roles is to give advice and guidance to businesses to try to restrict the spread of the virus.

They said advice given is based on a series of Covid risk assessments to establish if close contact had been made.

The spokesperson explained that anyone who is defined as a close contact would need to self-isolate for 14 days and said: “Self-isolation means staying at home, do not go to work, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis.

“You must not go outside even to buy food or other essentials, and any exercise must be taken within your home.”

When contacted about this case a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said they wouldn’t comment on individual circumstances but defended the NHS Test and Trace as one of the largest testing and contact tracing systems in the world.

They said: “The service is working hard to break chains of transmission, with almost half a million people who may otherwise have unknowingly spreading coronavirus contacted and told to isolate.

“We’re working with Directors of Public Health and have more than doubled the size of local health protection teams to increase local contact tracing and stop outbreaks.”

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