This briefing focuses on local issues and updates from the County Council and its partners including Keep Hampshire Safe campaigns, the Local Tracing Service and dental services.
The briefing also provides an update on national guidance and announcements and the latest national data on vaccinations, cases and deaths.
Members are kindly reminded to direct any coronavirus related queries and comments to the dedicated inbox - firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep Hampshire Safe campaigns
There are currently multiple campaigns live across social media, both paid for adverts and organic posts (shared at no cost). Members are encouraged to share/retweet with their social media followers, any relevant messages that we are posting on our corporate social media feeds – via @hantsconnect on both Twitter and Facebook. View and share the latest campaigns at the following links:
In addition, the following key messages are currently being shared on social media:
Offline, the Do the right thing outdoor media campaign launched this week, which aims to remind people to keep following the rules (posters at bus stops, road signs, digital sheets at supermarkets and shopping centres). Also, a new radio advert will launch this weekend (on Heart Radio, Wave 105, Capital South Coast, Hits Hampshire) which contains key vaccination messages and hands-face-space reminders.
NHS partners report that very good progress continues to be made with delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (HIOW). Both HIOW Care System (ICS) and Frimley Health and Care ICS (includes North East Hampshire), have now delivered the first dose of the vaccine to more than 91% of people aged 80 and over. People in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority groups 1- 4 continue to be prioritised to receive the first dose.
All eligible care home residents and staff across HIOW have been offered a first dose, apart from those in a small number of care homes where positive cases of the virus have been identified. Over coming weeks, the NHS will return to these care homes to vaccinate people who have not yet received their first dose.
This week, vaccination centres opened at Basingstoke Fire Station, the St James’s Hospital site in Portsmouth and The Riverside Centre in Newport on the Isle of Wight. Meanwhile, an additional four pharmacies across the area have started vaccinating by appointment. This brings the total number of vaccination sites across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to 63. Details of all sites within HIOW are available to view online.
Work continues to further understand and tackle inequalities, addressing individual concerns and circumstances - including medical history, age and ethnic background. This includes a joint working group comprising of NHS and local authority communications leads to develop a robust BAME communications plan. Additionally, outreach work with BAME groups is underway in several areas.
To stay up to date with the latest information on the vaccination programme in Hampshire, please visit the County Council’s vaccination webpage and also see the Southampton City CCG webpages which contain information on the HIOW area including FAQs, stakeholder updates and the vaccination site map.
Asymptomatic community testing
The Government is expanding asymptomatic testing across the country to ensure that those who need to leave home for work have access to a test. Testing will initially be offered through two primary delivery channels; institutional (workplace) testing where tests are provided by large employers to their staff in both the public and private sectors, and community testing where tests are provided by the local authority.
The County Council is co-ordinating bids to the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to support the roll out of asymptomatic community testing across Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight for an initial six-week period. Should these bids be approved by DHSC, asymptomatic testing would be available to people who are not covered by an existing workplace scheme. Subject to confirmation, community testing could start to roll out from the middle of February.
The bids broadly focus on several proposed testing locations aimed primarily at people who must leave their homes regularly for work, and who may therefore be at a higher risk of exposure to the virus. This includes local authority frontline workers, staff in early years settings, retail staff including supermarkets, construction and maintenance workers, transport workers and volunteers, including those supporting local authorities and emergency services in providing a welfare response to residents.
For more information, see the Executive Member for Public Health’s decision day paper (8 February). Also, the County Council has developed a new webpage to keep residents up to date with the latest information on testing and contact tracing - view online.
National Covid-19 cases, deaths and vaccines data
The NHS Covid-19 vaccination daily data shows that within the reporting period as of 5 February 2021, a total of 9,430,261 people have received the 1st dose and a total of 468,782 people have received the 2nd dose. The data, including the weekly statistical release, is available to view online.
As of 4pm on 4 February, the total number of people tested positive for Covid-19 was 3,892,459 and daily number of lab-confirmed cases was 20,634. The total number of Covid-19 associated deaths within 28 days of a positive test was 110,250 with 915 deaths reported on the day. The data is available to view online.
The R number range for the UK is 0.7 – 1.0 and the growth rate range -5% to -2% per day as of 5 February.
The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the May 2021 local polls will take place, including local authority and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. A delivery plan has been published which describes how they will proceed in the Covid-19 context and includes information on managing:
- public health and social distancing
- nominations and campaigning
- the delivery of elections
Guidance for local government
The Government has updated its guidance page for councils during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Government has updated the guidance to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.
It now includes new information on political campaigning and volunteers eligible for vaccines.
Job Finding Support service
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that its new Job Finding Support service has launched. Over the next year, an expected 160,000 jobseekers will receive digital support and advice, as part of the new service.
Asymptomatic testing in specialist settings
The Department for Education (DfE) has updated the guidance on mass asymptomatic testing in specialist settings. This follows the recent statement from Public Health England (PHE) that daily contact testing in schools and colleges would be paused, except for those taking part in the evaluation.
DfE updated the guidance for schools on restricting attendance during the national lockdown, to reflect the announcement made by the Prime Minister on 27 January that most pupils will continue to learn remotely after the February half-term.
After-school clubs and out-of-school settings
DfE has updated the guidance for providers of after-school clubs and out-of-school settings to include further information on vulnerable children who have difficulty engaging in remote education and on NHS Test and Trace support payments.
DfE also updated the guidance for parents and carers whose children attend out of school settings making it clear that as far as possible, parents should try to limit the number of settings their children attend.
The Government has announced the appointment of Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner, to oversee a comprehensive programme of catch-up aimed at young people who have lost out on learning due to the pandemic.
Children’s mental health
Former Love Island contestant, Dr Alex George, has been appointed as youth mental health ambassador for the Government and will be part of the Mental Health in Education Action Group, set up specifically support young people returning to school after lockdown.
Adults' social care and public health
Progress of the vaccine programme
The Minister for Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, delivered a statement to Parliament on the progress of the vaccine programme.
Expansion of asymptomatic testing
The Government has published a briefing on how it is expanding asymptomatic testing across the country to ensure that those who need to leave home for work have access to a test.
While the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines appear to work against the Covid-19 variants currently dominant in the UK, the Government has announced that they have entered a new partnership with vaccine manufacturer, CureVac, to rapidly develop new vaccines in response to new Covid-19 variants if required.
Data published from UK’s independent medicines regulator confirms approved vaccines meet strict regulatory standards for safety.
Alternating dose vaccine study
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that a world-first Covid-19 alternating dose vaccine study has launched in the UK. Patients taking part in the clinical study will receive different Covid-19 vaccines for their first and second dose to monitor the impact of the different dosing regimens on patients’ immune responses.
Public Health England has updated the advice and information on looking after mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic to include new information for students.
Environment, transport and travel
The Government has confirmed that from 15 February, anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.
Yesterday evening (4 February) DHSC issued a commercial specification to hotels near ports and airports, asking for proposals on how they can support the delivery of Managed Quarantine Facilities ahead of formal contracts being awarded.
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