This briefing focuses on local issues and updates from the County Council and its partners including asymptomatic community testing, vaccination programme, Keep Hampshire Safe campaigns and half term activities.
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
Asymptomatic community testing
This week, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, Councillor Judith Grajewski, approved funding of up to £8.6 million (with a prudent upper estimate closer to £5 million) to support the roll out of a short-term programme (six weeks) of community testing for those without symptoms. The appointment-only scheme is aimed at Hampshire residents who travel regularly outside their home for work, and who are not covered by an existing workplace scheme. Subject to Government approval, 11 community testing sites (one per district) will begin operation in the week commencing 22 February 2021. The proposed test site locations are set out in the table below:
NHS partners have confirmed that more than 400,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been delivered to communities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Across the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System (ICS) and Frimley Health and Care ICS more than 93% of people aged 80 and over have received their first dose
A further vaccination service is due to open at The Harlington in Fleet town centre next week, bringing the total number of vaccination sites across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to 64. Information on all available sites can viewed online here.
Individuals aged 70 and over who have not yet been invited to be vaccinated are also being asked to contact the NHS to arrange an appointment following a national announcement earlier this week.
Local community transport and voluntary schemes are offering vaccination transport services for anyone who needs help getting to their vaccination appointment:
Good Neighbour Groups - countywide
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’ campaign continues with posters at bus stops, road signs, digital sheets at supermarkets and shopping centres, and a radio advert.
The County Council is sharing a range of Covid-safe ideas to help keep families entertained at home during half-term. In the press release, Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, is quoted: “Under the current national restrictions we’re all having to spend much more time indoors, and we know parents and carers will be looking ahead to the half-term holiday next week and thinking about how to keep the family entertained.”
In addition, the County Council is reminding people to act responsibly and follow latest government guidance when exercising in their local outdoor spaces. The County Council’s Queen Elizabeth, Lepe, Staunton, River Hamble and Royal Victoria country parks remain open to local visitors, including country parks’ outdoor play areas, takeaway refreshments and toilet facilities. Normal opening hours and parking charges apply.
National Covid-19 cases, deaths and vaccines data
The Covid-19 vaccination daily data shows that up to 10 February, a total of 13,509,108 people have received the 1st dose and a total of 524,447 people have received the 2nd dose.
As of 6pm on 11 February, the total number of people tested positive for Covid-19 was 3,998,655 and daily number of lab-confirmed cases was 13,494. The total number of Covid-19 associated deaths within 28 days of a positive test was 115,529 with 678 deaths reported on the day. The data is available to view online.
The R number range for the UK is 0.7 – 0.9 and the growth rate range -5% to -2% per day as of 12 February.
The Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, and the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lord True CB, have written to all schools and returning officers setting out expectations for the forthcoming elections. Returning officers have been asked to avoid using schools as polling stations. In exceptional circumstances, where schools are used as polling stations, the Department for Education (DfE) has asked that returning officers work with schools to minimise any disruption.
Local government finance settlement
The Local Government Secretary has confirmed a £51.3 billion package for councils on Wednesday (11 February). This represents a £2.3 billion increase on this year – including access to an extra £1 billion for social care to help support vulnerable adults and children. An estimated £3 billion additional support for councils to deal with Covid-19 pressures.
In addition, £50,000 was confirmed for the Isle of Wight to review the challenges face by the council, residents and businesses on the island who are separated from the mainland.
Domestic abuse support funding
The Government has announced £125 million funding for councils to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children. The money will fund a new duty on councils to ensure victims and their children are able to access life-saving support in safe accommodation. The duty will come into effect later this year, subject to the Domestic Abuse Bill becoming law.
(£2,300,222 to Hampshire County Council and an estimated £373,678 for Tier 2 local authorities will be allocated in April 2021 when the Domestic Abuse Bill receives Royal Assent.)
The Home Office has announced police forces in England and Wales will be reimbursed with £60 million to support increased enforcement of Covid-19 rules. (Hampshire Constabulary - £1,504,455)
Initial teacher training (ITT)
The Department for Education (DfE) is preparing legislation to enable ITT providers to recommend trainees for qualified teacher status if they are satisfied that the trainee has demonstrated adequate progress towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards during their course, and would have met them, were it not for disruption caused by the pandemic.
Higher education providers
DFE has updated the guidance for higher education providers on students returning to, and starting, higher education in the spring term.The update provides information on shielding, clinically extremely vulnerable staff and students, and the use of face coverings.
DfE has updated the public health guidance on exams to include information on scheduled assessments in February and March 2021. The exams should only go ahead where they examine occupational or professional competency.
Teaching School Hubs
DfE has announced that 81 Hubs will be added across England to provide high-quality professional development to teachers and leaders.
Adults’ social care and public health
Health and Care White Paper
The Government yesterday (11 February), published a White Paper on the future of Health and Care. The White Paper sets out the Government’s proposals for legislation that will aim to help local health and care systems deliver quality care to their local communities, in a way that is more joined up, and more accountable.
The Government has updated the guidance on how to get tested for Covid-19 when you do not have symptoms. The update includes a link for the public to find out if their area offers rapid asymptomatic Lateral Flow Device testing.
Vaccination for staff in the funeral sector
Funeral operatives are to be prioritised for vaccination in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Local Resilience Forums are being asked by the Government to support their local NHS colleagues in identifying individuals eligible for prioritisation.
Environment, transport and travel
DHSC has issued guidance on what to do before and after you arrive in England, including staying at home and ordering Covid-19 tests.
From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England from outside the Common Travel Area must:
- quarantine for ten days
- take a coronavirus test on day two and day eight of quarantining
- follow the national lockdown rules
Highways England are encouraging road users to carry out regular vehicle maintenance and checks during the current national lockdown.
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