Halton Borough Council has published its Local COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plans which set out how
- To prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
- How an outbreak would be controlled
The Local COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plans alongside the NHS Test, Trace, Contain and Engage service aims to control the COVID-19 rate of reproduction (R number), reduce the spread of infection and save lives.
Together with the NHS Test, Trace, Contain and Engage Programme, Local COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plans will help people across Halton to live safely with COVID 19 as lockdown measures are eased.
Stopping the virus spreading is the number one priority.
An outbreak is defined as more than two cases with symptoms of COVID-19 in the same setting, which arise in the same 14 day period. If this was to happen in Halton, the Local COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plans would be triggered and Halton Borough Council would work with partners like Public Health England and the NHS to put in place measures to bring the outbreak under control and prevent the further spread of the virus within in the community.
Talking about the plans, Halton Borough Council’s Director of Public Health, Eileen O’Meara, said:
“The published Local COVID-19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plans signify an important ‘next step’ in controlling the spread of the virus in our local community and workplaces.
“The plans include guidance on how settings should control infections and detail what should happen if there is an outbreak.
“We all have a responsibility in managing coronavirus. It is so important that we continue to follow the national guidance around social distancing and hand hygiene.”
The council’s published plans are as follows:
- Ten aspects for system prevention: this document outlines our approach to preventing the spread of the virus and how to prepare for COVD-19 outbreaks across the system
- COVID-19 outbreak plan for complex settings: this plan is in place to support outbreaks in settings such as special schools, primary care, rough sleepers, asylum seekers and individuals with complex needs
- COVID-19 outbreak plan for educational establishments: this plan is in place to prevent and manage outbreaks in schools and other educational and childcare settings
- COVID-19 outbreak plan for care homes: this specific plan is for preventing and responding to outbreaks in our care homes
Executive Board member responsible for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Marie Wright said: “We understand that people are eager to get back to a normal way of life and with more shops opening and further easing of restrictions due to happen soon, it could feel like the virus has gone away – but it hasn’t – and the threat of infection is still with us, so we still need everyone to follow Government guidance. These plans are in place to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, which will protect lives and livelihoods.
“Our Local COVID 19 Outbreak Prevention and Control Plans are comprehensive and detail extensively how we will respond to outbreaks. I want to make clear that in the event of an outbreak, we will work with affected groups to provide support and will communicate very clearly with our partners to help them understand why local outbreak prevention is so important, and how they can help. Any decisions about measures that need to be taken, will be made locally.
“This phase of responding to the pandemic is vital in ensuring we can continue to drive down the transmission of the virus. The plans we have published will support our aim of containing outbreaks but we also need your full support to help keep Halton as secure as possible from outbreaks. We need our residents to continue to follow the clear guidance around the NHS Test and Trace service, which will support our prevention outbreak plans. If you have symptoms, play your part and arrange to get tested”.
For more information about the council’s prevention plans, the NHS Test Trace, Contain and Engage service and how you can get tested for coronavirus, please visithttps://www3.halton.gov.uk/Pages/health/Covid-19-Preventing-and-Responding-to-Local-Outbreaks.aspx