(a) COVID-19 surveillance report - presentation
· To receive a presentation
(b) Report on implementing the Outbreak Prevention Control Plan
· To receive and consider the report
Chris Williamson, Head of Public Health Intelligence delivered a presentation on COVID-19 monitoring report as part of Southwark’s Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan. The presentation covered data on the following areas:
i. Test and Trace;
ii. Community testing to date;
iii. Impacts of local contact tracing and Test and Trace case completion;
iv. Incidence rates and daily cases;
v. Case demographics;
vi. Geographical view of the cases in the borough;
vii. Hospital admissions; and
viii. Horizon scan view of the current position from the national alert level to NHS demand.
Jin Lim introduced the covering report as read and the Board noted the following points made:
· Close surveillance of the incidence data would continue along with the rise of incidences for those in the age group 40 to 59.
· Three strands remain in focus in the plan:
§ The Community Health Ambassadors programme was launched and open for registration. Please to contact Community Southwark to register. The programme is open to all residents of Southwark and volunteers linked with Southwark’s Voluntary Community Sector.
§ A weekly schedule of proactive deployment and reactive enforcement via the enforcement team was in place.
§ There has been extensive work with the communications team, key partners and communities to reach targeted groups via a diverse range of communication methods; from online forums to leaflets sent by post.
§ Local contact tracing services had been live for five weeks.
§ The Peckham Pulse site was now restored and up and running. Residents no longer need to travel to Milton Keynes for their test.
§ The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that mass testing via the rapid lateral flow tests approach would occur. The council were looking at this approach very carefully prior to local adoption and learn from existing pilots.
§ There was on going work with the Acute Response Team and Public Health England (PHE) to manage local incidences and the consultant-led service runs seven days a week, 9am to 5pm.
· The four detailed appendices included in the report covered:
i. Key actions from the last 7 – 14 days around outbreak prevention plan and control;
ii. A communications brief about the health ambassadors programme;
iii. The emerging lessons and the experience of setting up the contact tracing service; and
iv. The three tiers and the escalation framework. Southwark were at medium before the second lockdown and now at the high-level tier.
The Chair thanked Chris and Jin for their presentations and reports and welcomed all points made.
In response, to a question and answer session the Board noted the following points:
· Important not to rush into the rapid lateral flow tests and to be as efficient and effective as possible in the deployment of mass testing.
· The time lag of data flow from national to local level was due to the national system in place. The difficulties in tracking down cases were being worked through from local knowledge and data intelligence although efforts are being made to resolve matters at operational level with the national team.
· The local percentage of test sites reported a 10 – 11% vs. 5% nationally. This was due to the different elements that contributed to the local percentage for instance it included the data from testing people in care homes.
· The environmental health team were engaging with local businesses in the borough about the exposure (potential transmission) sites and deploying their enforcement and regulatory services to protect local communities.
· The data had shown that rate of transmission in local business sites and schools were relatively low.
· The Charles Dickens Primary School had been selected as part of the HSC pilot to have a full health and safety inspection related to COVID-19 prior to a national roll-out.
· The Deputy Leader of the council had sent a letter to the Secretary of State in response to schools remaining open during the second lockdown and the associated costs from the impacts of COVID-19. The letter had reflected upon the pressures of maintaining children’s mental health wellbeing, keeping schools sanitised, retaining and sustaining a workforce, and providing key resources. The letter had asked for more funds to support schools in these areas.
· The public health team receive notifications from PHE and universities of any reported incidents (rates of transmissions) or issues that the council should be made aware of. The team have direct contact with the universities and the operators of halls of residence to enable a collaborative approach in handling the reported incidents. The universities and the halls of residences have their own outbreak prevention and control plans, which are reviewed when the team are notified of reported incidents. Additionally, there was a hope to rollout the community ambassadors scheme to some of the students so they can communicate and cascade key messages internally within their own student platforms and forums.
· The rates were not high in universities. Although, there are a high number of students self-isolating, consequently their mental health was of a concern. There are intentions to move to a risked based approach and to trial this at LSE. The public health team will be hosting a virtual Town Hall event for the universities and their student representatives to offer public health guidance and a Q/A session.
· When reviewing the rollout of the rapid lateral flow tests, the universities could be considered a priority.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions to this Item, all internal and external stakeholders, partners, schools and the people of Southwark for their commitment to following the public health rules and abiding to the national restrictions in place to keep everyone safe.
1. That the Health and Wellbeing Board received and noted the update from the Outbreak Prevention and Control Executive on the actions taken to implement the Southwark Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan (OPCP) and to prevent, identify and control the novel coronavirus pandemic in Southwark (Appendix 1).
2. That the Health and Wellbeing Board noted the increased testing in Southwark and noted the increased capacity with the launch of an additional local test site at Peckham Pulse.
3. That the Health and Wellbeing Board noted the launch of, and to promote with partners the Community Health Ambassadors Programme (Appendix 2).