Gloucestershire publishes its Covid-19 local outbreak management plan
To help prevent, contain, respond to and monitor Covid-19 in Gloucestershire, the county council has today published the first edition of its Local Outbreak Management Plan.
Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health at the county council said: “The local outbreak plan should be seen, in many ways, as a continuation of the hard work put in by all local partners over the past few months. Thankfully, we have not seen the numbers of cases or deaths that other parts of the country have but that in no way means we should be complacent. We have seen elsewhere what happens if people do not continue to follow the advice and guidance - none of us want that in Gloucestershire. Although the infection rate is currently falling, Covid-19 remains within the population and if we don’t pay it the utmost respect, it will work its way back into our communities.
“To be successful in beating Covid-19 we have to work together – so do enjoy all that the relaxing of restrictions allows you to but keep up the hand washing, stick with the social distancing and don’t gather in big groups. The things we are being asked to do remain simple but the impact of not doing them could be significant and lead to unnecessary loss of life in the county.”
Delivery of the plan will be overseen by a newly formed Covid-19 Health Protection Board, Chaired By Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health and made up of senior officers from all the responding organisations. This Board will be advised by the cross party Covid-19 Engagement Board, which will be Chaired by Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the County Council.
The plan covers, in detail, the ways in which the county council and its partners will work together to support and protect groups and settings across the county if there were to be an outbreak but there are key elements its important to highlight:
- Everyone needs to keep up the good, regular hand washing and regularly disinfect doors, tables and other surfaces. Organisations will continue to raise awareness of the need for this
- Keep two metres apart – YES, it is still two metres. It’s only when it’s not possible to do so and you can take other measures, such as wearing a face covering, is it OK to be closer
- If you work in a care home, hospital or somewhere else that has meant you’ve needed to wear additional PPE, you must keep wearing it in line with current guidance
- To help support people, all the organisations signed up to the plan will continue to raise awareness around hygiene, provide signage, other display materials to support social distancing and continue to providing training, advice and support for care settings
- If you think you have C-19 symptoms - high temperature, new persistent cough, loss/change of taste or smell – you must isolate and get tested
- In addition to the regional testing centre at Hempsted Meadow, Gloucester, testing will continue to be available for care homes, hospitals and via the mobile testing units in the county, as well as home testing being available to order from www.nhs.uk
- If you are contacted by the NHS Track and Trace service you must tell them who you’ve been in contact with, so they can be given advice too
- If you have to isolate and can’t make your own arrangements, help is available to make sure you can get essentials such as food and medication
- Some places have already been highlighted as more at risk and plans are in place to make sure the response to any outbreak is swift and effective e.g. in a care home, school, homeless accommodation, hospital or GP surgery
- Further plans will be developed over the coming weeks to cover other circumstances and settings and existing plans will continue to be developed to ensure the best possible response
- As more and more information and intelligence is available locally, councils, NHS and other partners will be able to do even more to spot issues emerging locally and respond to them quickly, including telling communities what action, if any, they need to take
- More information and data will also make it possible for local agencies to learn more about any links between Covid-19 and inequality, mental and physical health and enable action to be taken to address them now and into the future
The plan, which has been authorised by the county council’s director for public health and chief executive, in consultation with the leader of the council, will be tested in early July, and an updated version, taking account of any lessons learnt, will be reviewed by Cllr Hawthorne before it is formally adopted as Gloucestershire’s Local Outbreak Management Plan.
You can read the full plan here.