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Local Outbreak Engagement Board

(Health and Wellbeing Board sub-committee)

Monday 27th July 2020, 1.00pm

Present: Councillor Matthew Winnington (Chair), Councillor Suzy Horton, Councillor Judith Smyth, Councillor Luke Stubbs, Cllr Jeanette Smith, Roger Batterbury (Healthwatch), Helen Atkinson (Director of Public Health), Alison Jeffery (Director of Children’s Services), Louise Wilders (HIVE Portsmouth), Dr Linda Collie (Portsmouth CCG), Stef Nientowalski (Shaping Portsmouth), Matthew Gummerson (Strategic Lead for Intelligence), Steve Bell (Regulatory Services – PCC), Kelly Nash (Strategy Unit, PCC).

Apologies: Councillor Matthew Atkins, Steve Labedz (Portsmouth Education Partnership).

  1. Notes of last meeting (30th June 2020)

The notes were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.

  1. Local Intelligence Summary

Matthew Gummerson provided a presentation on the current data picture in Portsmouth, covering infections, deaths and emerging test and trace data.

Only 2 new infections were recorded in Portsmouth in the past 7 days.  7 day rate per 100,000 is 1.9 – comparable Leicester rate is 70.1.  There have been no Covid-19 related deaths at PHT since the first week of June and none in the acute hospitals in Hampshire for a week. Proportion of cases completing Test and Trace in Portsmouth is slightly higher than the national average.

In terms of local data, people aged 25-44 make up an increasingly large proportion of cases locally, but overall numbers remain low.  No clear and obvious correlation with ethnicity.  Mapping is underway looking at areas of higher transmission.

The Chair thanked Matthew Gummerson for the presentation.

  1. Lessons from Leicester

Matthew Gummerson gave an overview of some of the learning that had emerged from the situation in Leicester.  The group noted the process followed, and that the lockdown boundary did not mirror the city administrative boundary.

Key messages:

  • Need data to get early sight of issues – this is now in place across HIOW
  • Decisions (and powers) to impose local lockdown were top-down from government, and still not completely clear how this will work in future areas (regulations and powers emerging)
  • Delivery – we will learn practical lesson from those managing outbreaks now and we’ve got good plans in place to deal with outbreaks clearly led by local Health Protection -some issues around digital access barriers and language, and clarity across what is guidance, what is regulation and where there can be enforcement or advice.

In questions, the Board explored the decision-making processes around local lockdowns.  Steve Bell explained that legislation is imminent that will give local authorities greater powers (via DsPH) but that this does currently sit with central government.  Helen Atkinson confirmed that any local decisions would be subject to consultation with stakeholders.

Board members were interested in what work is taking place looking at comparable environments in Portsmouth to those that have been sources of problems in Leicester.  It was confirmed that the key sites in Leicester were food processing and manufacturing environments, and that in Portsmouth all food premises are registered and good notification processes are in place.  It was noted that a range of powers already exist in relation to infectious disease in these contexts.

  1. Current status – powers and regulations

The Board noted the report setting out the most recent updates around powers and regulations.  It was noted that there are already a number of powers locally, but the clear direction from central government is to transfer more responsibilities for addressing Covid-19 outbreaks to local government.

  1. Assurance report

The Board received the report which covered:

  • Local context – updated with the information taken from the data reporting
  • Local activity – bringing together a range of information about what our work is telling us about our preparedness
  • Assurance to PHE

The Board were content with the format of the report, and expressed confidence in the local situation based on the information provided.  Cllr Jeannette Smith asked what the situation was likely to be regarding flu jabs in the winter, and Helen Atkinson explained that as many people as possible will be encouraged to have these, and they will be widely offered, including through pharmacies.  Work is underway to consider the best ways to ensure the wide vaccination programme can be delivered.

  1. Any other business

Cllr Winnington reminded members of his request to think of which groups they would be able to link with in the event of a future outbreak as a conduit to the Engagement Board.

The meeting concluded at 2pm.