Local Outbreak Engagement Board (Health and Wellbeing Board sub-committee)
EXTRAORDINARY MEETING – Tuesday 1st December 2020, 2.00pm
Present: Councillor Matthew Winnington (Chair), Councillor Judith Smyth, Councillor Suzy Horton, Roger Batterbury (Healthwatch), Helen Atkinson (Director of Public Health), Dr Linda Collie (Portsmouth CCG), Steve Labedz (Portsmouth Education Partnership), Matthew Gummerson (Strategic Lead for Intelligence, PCC), Richard Lee (Assistant Director- Regulatory Services, PCC), Kelly Nash (Strategy Unit, PCC), Stef Nientowalski (Shaping Portsmouth).
Apologies: Cllr Jeanette Smith, Alison Jeffery (Director of Children, Families and Education, PCC).
- Local Intelligence Summary
Matt Gummerson provided an overview of the latest data and key messages, reflecting the Winter Plan published on 23rd November. The plan sets out that areas would be placed into Tiers in the new national system based on:
- Rate of infection in all age groups
- Rate of infection in over 60s
- Rate of change in these categories
- Positivity rate of testing
- Pressures on NHS (no clear metric for this).
As a result of consideration against these measures, the HIOW LRF area has been placed in Tier 2 (with the exception of the IoW which is in Tier 1, with much lower infection rates). It is important to understand the regional context, as this seems to be driving decision making, so future reports will include a focus on the regional data.
Portsmouth’s current rate of infections over the last 7 days per 100,000 population is 138.2. There is a similar pattern of decrease across HIOW. Portsmouth’s rate is now below the rate for SE England and for England. The pattern of decreasing rates applies across all age groups. The rate of change over the last 7 days is -46.3% for all ages, and -52.1% for 60+. The latest positivity rate (19-25 November) is 6.1%, with the number of tests remaining consistent.
There is no single measure for pressure on the NHS, and this looks at the wider regional system, but Covid-19 activity at QAH remains 25% down on the previous 7 days, mainly due to a reduction in in-patient diagnoses. Admissions due to Covid-19 have increased slightly.
There have been 33 covid-related deaths at QAH since the end of October. Overall deaths in the city remain at or below average for the time of year.
In questions, Roger Batterbury noted that a different figure for the 7-day rate per 100,000 had been quoted at a meeting at PHU – it was noted that this is likely to be because that data would have referred to HIOW, or just Hampshire, instead of the city.
The Chair thanked Matthew Gummerson for the presentation.
- Leaving national lockdowns and moving to new restrictions
Dominique Le Touze gave an overview of the tiered system and the regional approach. It was noted that the restrictions in Tier 2 areas are geared towards reducing household mixing and gatherings of people.
Richard Lee confirmed that the new regulations have been published and are available on the government website. There are some differences between the previous tiered regime introduced in October, with some restrictions tighter than they previously were, and some a little more relaxed. Richard made a summary available to the Board members.
Helen Atkinson reported to the Board that there is clearly a sense that some residents are confused about the new restrictions, and when various rules take effect, so work is underway with the communications team to boost the messages locally, and to clarify some of the areas where there seems to be particular confusion.
Cllr Smyth suggested that through the communications, there is an opportunity to recognise the efforts of people in the city in sticking with the restrictions, and to provide a message about the importance of carrying on. Helen said that the really important point is that the infection rates have reduced because of the national lockdown measures, and that there is a careful message to manage because in January, the expectation is that the infection rate will rise again due to moving to Tier 2, and further loosening over the Christmas period.
Steve Labedz noted that Slough has not been treated regionally, and asked what the likelihood was of a similar situation occurring locally, with Portsmouth “decoupled” from the rest of the region. Helen reported that this was theoretically possible, but that there was no indication this was likely to happen – the situation with the Isle of Wight is very different due to the very much lower rates of infection and the geographical separation.
Roger Batterbury asked if there were any plans for a vaccination site in the city, and whether planning was underway for a third wave in January. Helen reported that whilst vaccination was likely to start in the city soon, this would start with NHS staff and patients at the acute hospital, then progress to the roving vaccination programme in care home residents and staff delivered by Primary Care Networks (PCNs) who would also be making arrangements to carry out vaccination for those who would normally receive seasonal flu vaccination , and mass vaccination sites would then come on stream when there is sufficient vaccine for the wider population. Sites are in the process of being identified, and this is a NHS-led programme. The requirements of sites are very particular, because of requirements for cold-storage.
In relation to a third wave, Helen Atkinson was clear that January would still represent part of the second wave, which has been suppressed by the national lockdown. There are strong hopes that the vaccination programme will prevent a third wave later in the year, and this is certainly where the current focus is.
Helen asked if there was a view around linking future meetings to announcements on Tier reviews – the Board agreed that this would be helpful for December, and agreed to move the scheduled meeting on 21st December forward to the 15th December.
- Any other business
Richard Lee highlighted that guidance has also been produced on Christmas bubbles – this is quite complex so worth looking at in order to be able to support anyone who raises queries.
The meeting concluded at 2.55pm.