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Agenda item

COVID 19 Update

Minutes:

Julie Billett, Director of Public Health was present and was accompanied by Councillor Sue Lukes Executive Member for Community Safety and Pandemic Response -

 

During consideration of the presentation the following main points were made –

 

·         As of 30 September there were a total of 903 confirmed laboratory cases in Islington

·         The average number of cases daily peaked at 17 cases from 29 March to 4 April

·         Over the last 4 weeks the number of cases has increased on a daily basis, but testing has increased dramatically

·         The rate of positive cases has been increasing since beginning of August but is lower than that of England and Islington is showing a decline in the rate of people tested per 100000 since mid- August whilst overall in England there is a rise in testing rates. Positivity rates are similar to that of London around 4%

·         155 deaths in Islington have been COVID related up to 4 September, and 2 death in the week to 11 September

·         Contact tracing – 419 cases in contact with 1118 contacts – 78% of cases have been successfully contacted and of the contacts identified 71% have been successfully contacted

·         Since the outbreak the Islington COVID 19 outbreak prevention and control plan has been strengthened

·         The latest data shows that there are 90.3 cases per 100000 population compared to 99 in London and 150 in England, however there is a rapidly rising community transmission issue

·         Older peoples care homes – care homes are better placed to respond in comparison to the first wave, and there have been no COVID related deaths in care homes for the last 15 weeks. Staffing levels remain relatively stable

·         Key issues – access to testing remains an issue and the Council is working with key partners to look at options to increase testing locally, whilst a national solution is awaited. A local testing centre is now available at the Sobell Centre car park and another in the south of the borough is being considered at a later stage

·         Local contact tracing – focusing on contacting individuals who have tested positive and have not been successfully contacted by the national service within 24 hours. A Task and Finish Group has been convened to plan for the ‘go live’ of locally supported contact tracing and the national system is working with local teams across the country in a phased way to ‘go live’ systematically

·         Key issues – Preventing and mitigating disproportionate impacts, communication and engagement, supporting schools and higher education

·         London cases are doubling every day, however testing has increased over the last few weeks

·         There had been no COVID deaths in the past few weeks but as cases continue to rise the disease would spread to more vulnerable members of the community

·         There is a Home Care testing plan in place and staff are tested on a weekly basis and residents on a monthly basis

·         A testing centre is now in place at the Sobell Car Park

·         There has been small outbreaks in University Halls of Residence, however universities were being supportive in combating the outbreaks

·         The Executive Member stated that she wanted to establish an outbreak control plan and would be seeking input from Members, and encouraged Members to sign up as Health Champions. Measures also need to be taken to improve communications and ensure there are safety measures in place in businesses and appropriate enforcement takes place when necessary

·         Contact tracing and testing needs to be improved as many residents are asymptomatic. The effects of isolation on residents also needs to be looked at

·         If a resident is found to be positive measures also need to be put in place to support them and the discretionary payment scheme has been modified

·         Reference was made to the BAME community and health conditions and that there had been reports of some Housing Associations and other employers forcing staff to go to work. In addition it was stated that some carers had expressed concern about the availability of PPE and lack of testing

·         It was stated that employers were required to carry out risk assessments for staff and it was felt that this was the best approach to take

·         Members noted that only care home staff were being regularly tested and it is hoped that improvements can be introduced in other settings, but there was not enough capacity to carry out regular routine testing for domiciliary staff . In response to the question about availability of PPS it was stated that if there are instances of this these should be reported for investigation, as there are no shortages at present

·         It was stated that work also needed to take place with Trade Unions and community organisations to ensure staff are not scared to self-isolate if necessary, through fear of loss of pay or redundancy

·         It was noted that there had only been 2 cases of a positive test for domiciliary care staff

·         In response to a question it was noted that there were 8 COVID cases at present at the Whittington and some were in ICU. Reference was also made to increased COVID cases at the Royal Free and UCLH

·         In response to a question the situation in schools if a COVID case is positive was outlined

·         It was stated that if a resident went to A&E they would be seen, however they were encouraged to contact 111 in order to keep hospitals as safe as possible, and that a ring 111 national promotion is being promoted

 

 

 

The Chair thanked Sue Lukes and Julie Billett for attending

 


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