Agenda item

COVID-19 Update

a.    Local Outbreak Control Plan: Progress Update

b.    Questions from members of the public and stakeholders



The Board received a detailed presentation of the Director of Public Health which provided an update on the COVID-19 response and the COVID-19 Local Outbreak Control Plan (for copy of presentation see file of minutes).


The Director of Public Health advised that the outbreak control plan would now move to a local outbreak management plan and would be reported to the Health and Wellbeing Board in June 2021.


It was noted that the vaccination programme was progressing extremely well within County Durham with 95% of people over 80 having received the vaccination. COVID-19 cases had reduced to 70 per 100,000 and localised outbreaks were being managed through early detection and intervention.


The Director of Public Health advised that the below responses to questions from members of the public and stakeholders would be published on the Council’s website following the meeting:


1.    What is the Test and Trace payment progress?


Test and Trace Support Payments scheme brought in to help people on low incomes who are unable to work from home while they are self-isolating.


As at 28 February 2021 we have received and processed 1793 standard applications and 1099 discretionary applications (for those earning less than £20,065 with less than £500 in savings) – so far awarding £298,500 for the main scheme and £70,000 for discretionary payments.


2.    What is the eligibility for vaccines for “frontline” voluntary services?


The work of the voluntary sector has been highly valued during the Covid pandemic. The voluntary sector provides a wide range of services including the delivery of health and social care to vulnerable people and support to the general population.


The Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) issued guidance on 30 December 2020 setting out the priority groups for vaccination. These apply to the voluntary sector and are based on evidence about the mortality rates and risks of vulnerable people and occupational groups. Voluntary sector staff providing “frontline” health and social care are in priority group 2.

Other voluntary sector staff and volunteers would receive vaccinations in line with the JCVI guidance


3.    When can people can go further afield for travel?


The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March, but many restrictions will remain in place, and people should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding the busiest times and routes.


Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons, and holidays abroad will not be allowed, given that it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme.


The government launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.


4.    How can we access community Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing?


In line with the roadmap out of lockdown we are offering free LFD testing to the following groups.

·                     If you can’t work from home and your workplace doesn’t offer LFD testing

·                     If you are a carer for a vulnerable person

·                     If you are in a childcare bubble and can’t access the education LFD testing

·                     If you leave home for recreation or exercise outdoors and meet up with one person from another household (social distancing and other safe behaviours should be followed when meeting up).

In order to take part, you can book tests online.

We suggest you take a test twice a week. There are no walk-in slots available. Testing is free and if you are unable to access the internet you can contact the County Durham Together Community Hub on 03000 260 260.

Tests slots are available between 7.15 am and 5.30 pm, Monday - Friday at the following venues:

·                     Meadowfield Leisure Centre

·                     Spennymoor Leisure Centre

·                     Stanley Leisure Centre (Louisa Centre)

·                     Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre

·                     Barnard Castle Leisure Centre

·                     East Durham College

For further information, visit


Resolved: That the presentation be noted.

Supporting documents: