Nottinghamshire COVID-19 Local Outbreak Plans published
Plans have been published that outline how future outbreaks of COVID-19 will be managed in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The Government announced in May that top tier local authorities will lead new Local Outbreak Control Plans which give powers to local public heath leaders to manage the risk of potential future outbreaks of the disease with some additional focus on high risk groups such as vulnerable elderly people and people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The plans will see Directors of Public health lead and manage strategies to reduce and suppress outbreaks of COVID-19 infection across the local area with a focus on using the very latest data to make decisions about how any outbreaks of the disease should be managed including deployment of local testing and advice on how the virus should best be contained.
The Nottinghamshire Local Outbreak Plan sets out how local government works with the NHS Test and Trace service, so that the county is prepared to contain the virus wherever and if-ever it occurs. The plan outlines how lives will be protected using the emergency response systems in partnership with Public Health England, the NHS, the voluntary sector and the wider community.
The plans build on existing health protection roles and responsibilities as well as the specific work councils have been undertaking to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Local Outbreak Control Plans in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire will be led by a joint Health Protection Board comprising the two Directors of Public Health with oversight by two separate member led engagement boards make up of elected councillors of the respective authorities.
Jonathan Gribbin, Director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire, said:
“Coronavirus continues to circulate in our communities, so it is vital that local government works together to contain the virus. We will be reviewing the best available information on a daily basis and working with our partners to deal with hotspots that arise. Our advice is to maintain social distancing of 2 metres wherever you can – and 1 metre plus precautions where 2 metres is not possible; to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; to stay at home if you or someone in your household has symptoms; and to get tested and to follow the advice you receive when you get the result.”
The plans will involve much closer engagement with communities to increase awareness of infection control in care homes and schools but will also work directly with large employers whose workers live in a particular community.
The plans will include how the NHS Test and Trace system will be rolled out if an outbreak occurs and gives local public health care and local authorities the powers to decide where and how the tracing is implemented locally depending on the nature of any outbreaks.
The main purpose of the plans is to give local experts and decision makers to the power to decide what the best strategies are for Nottinghamshire - using local data, knowledge and crucially, the influence local leaders have in their communities to help contain the virus.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire received a share of the government’s £300 million fund to implement the plans.
The funding will be used to secure the staff needed to sustain these arrangements over the next year or more, and to engage with people about the part each of us must play in containing the virus, e.g. hand hygiene, rigorous social distancing, prompt testing and self-isolation.