Plymouth Covid-19 Local Outbreak Management Plan

We can all help to reduce the spread of the virus by;

  • Social distancing

  • Using face coverings, especially on public transport

  • Washing our hands regularly

  • Coughing or sneezing into the crook of our arm

  • And taking action if we do have symptoms; self isolating and getting tested

Over the last few weeks, as the number of cases of COVID-19 have dropped, the restrictions on our day-to-day life have also started to reduce.

For this to continue, we need to be sure that the disease is contained; that people who have the infection self-isolate, that people who have already been exposed to the virus also self-isolate in case they develop it and become infectious themselves, and that we all continue to follow the guidance around social distancing, face covering and good hand hygiene.

It is likely that there will be small outbreaks, where spread has happened; this plan particularly considers this situation. It describes some of the actions that people, communities, businesses and organisations may need to take, to manage small outbreaks, and to control the virus. They might have a short term negative impact; for example, self- isolation, enhanced infection control measures, measures to reduce footfall or throughput; but this short term pain will enable longer term gains; the avoidance of a second wave.

This summary provides an overview of the plan.

 

Plymouth’s Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP) aims;

  • To engage with our communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through adherence to guidance and other preventative actions
  • To implement plans to prevent and respond to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in targeted settings and communities
  • To utilise surveillance and epidemiological data to allow early identification and interventions
  • To coordinate the system response to COVID-19 to minimise harm to the population of Plymouth

This supports the ‘Contain’ element of the national NHS Test and Trace programme; to have “an integrated and world-class COVID-19 Test and Trace service, designed to control the virus and enable people to live a safer and more normal life, underpinned by a huge public engagement exercise to build trust and participation”.

It builds upon a well-established partnership approach to protecting the health of our population.

There are existing statutory responsibilities for health protection across the system, and as you would expect, this brings together Local Authorities with the NHS and other emergency services who have a role in responding to an emergency. The Health and Wellbeing Board have oversight of Health Protection.

We have well established collaborative approaches to health protection across the South West, between local authorities and PHE. This has been further developed during the response to COVID-19 and includes clarity over roles and responsibilities.

Funding has been provided to Local Authorities to support this work.

A number of new national initiatives are now in place to support the response to COVID-19. This includes;

Joint Biosecurity Centre, which has two key tasks;

  • To provide an independent analytical function to provide real-time analysis about infection outbreaks.
  • to advise on how the government should respond to spikes in infections

NHS Test and Trace, which describes the programme of testing and of contact tracing that is now in place.

The local authority have set up two new Boards to help to manage the ongoing risk of COVID-19.

Plymouth COVID19 Engagement Board will be chaired by the Leader of Plymouth City Council, Cllr Tudor Evans. It includes a number of leaders from across the different partnerships in Plymouth, including those around community safety, growth of the economy and health. It will have responsibilities for:

  • Political oversight of the local delivery of plan and response
  • Communicating and engaging with residents and communities

Plymouth COVID 19 Health Protection Board will be chaired by the Director of Public Health Dr Ruth Harrell. It is comprised of leads across the health and wellbeing system of Plymouth. It will have responsibility for;

  • Have oversight of the current situation in Plymouth
  • Review the current outbreak measures in Plymouth (the operational response)
  • Consider any learning identified either locally or nationally (of relevance to Plymouth)
  • Identify the future likely trends
  • Identify potential responses to the current picture and future trends
  • Make recommendations and provide assurance to Plymouth COVID-19 Engagement Board and the Local Resilience Forum

 

Communication and engagement is key for a number of reasons;

  • To promote testing enables all concerned or affected by the outbreak to understand the key steps that they need to take to prevent the spread
  • To clearly communicate to others not directly affected by the outbreak their level of risk and the steps that they need to take
  • To ensure all stakeholders are informed and involved as appropriate.

Working across a local Plymouth network, and a regional network, we will communicate with our population to;

  • Motivate people with symptoms to get testing and to isolate, to participate in contact sharing, and to isolate is contacted
  • Reassure people that Test and Trace helps safely ease lockdown and return to a more normal life (with hygiene and social distancing)
  • Alert people in the event of an escalation to the guidelines, restrictions and support available, and to updates

We will consider our audiences and channels appropriate to them and will pay particular attention to specific groups who are either at higher risk of infection, of severe disease, or of being less compliant to guidelines. We will also share learning on prevention across different settings.

The leadership provided by the Engagement Board will be key to tailoring and sharing the right messages and ensuring they are reinforced and shared by all partners.