The Committee received the report of the Director of Public Health that provided an update on the Government Roadmap: COVID-19 Response - Summer 2021, County Durham’s COVID-19 response and the Local Outbreak Management Plan (for copy see file of minutes).
The Director of Public Health updated Members on the County Durham 7-day rate that was currently 596.3 per 100,000, a reduction of over 50% in the last week with 23,000 cases and above the England average. 76 people were in hospital and the death rate was very low.
The Director of Public Health advised of the latest updates to the government’s roadmap and our response to that, as well as changing to a Local Outbreak Management Plan from the Local Outbreak Control Plan. Variants continued to be monitored via Public Health England overseen by the Local Health Protection Assurance Board.
Restrictions had been lifted but locally we would focus on vaccination roll out and would retain the test, trace and isolate programme. There had been a high take up on the vaccines.
Due to the high numbers in the North East, the government had agreed that it was now an Enhanced Response Area with significant focus on testing and access to testing, increased engagement with the local communities, supported by the COVID champions.
In schools, there had been significant work carried out to control transmission and the Outbreak Control team had developed a dedicated process for testing and online learning solutions.
Following the CQC report being published on care home deaths, the Chair asked how that would prepare us for this winter with flu and COVID. She was concerned about those patients being discharged from hospital and how better we could protect other residents in care homes. She asked for an update for the next meeting. The Director of Public Health agreed that a report would come back on the preparatory work ready for winter and how that would affect services.
The Corporate Director of Adults and Health Services informed the chair that a response was being prepared to queries the chair had raised in respect of the CQC report which the chair may then wish to share with the committee. Assurances were given that preparations for winter around the care setting would be in place.
Councillor Quinn added that from her point of view, working in the sector, procedures and policies were followed and that more people survived COVID in nursing homes than those who had died from it. She felt that it was important to share those figures too.
Councillor Gunn commended the team for their hard work and commitment during a stressful time. She added that Durham Insight was a useful tool which included details of the all of the important work being carried out.
That the report and the robust governance and outbreak control arrangements in place to identify, control and contain COVID-19 cases, clusters and outbreaks be noted and agreed.