A plan setting out how North East Lincolnshire will continue to tackle the threat of COVID-19 is to be discussed at a special meeting of North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet next week.
The Council, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the wider health and social Care system in the area have been working together since COVID-19 first became a threat to our area.
While tragically we have seen 34 deaths due to COVID-19 in North East Lincolnshire, the area currently has the third lowest rate of cases in England, with the number of cases emerging in care homes and the number of deaths the lowest in England.
As the local economy begins to open up, the Council is working closely with businesses to keep consumers safe and protect this good position.
As well as working to get the local economy restarted safely, the Council has an important public health role in ensuring the virus is brought under control so we can continue to see life return to normal.
Because COVID-19 is a new virus and remains highly contagious, we need to remain cautious as we move out of lockdown. There are a number of risks that could see the number of infections in our community increase again. For example, our low infection rates mean most local people have not been exposed to the virus already so the impact of indoor businesses reopening as well as increasing numbers of visitors from outside the area is not yet certain.
The Council has been allocated £1 million to support COVID-19 Outbreak Management. Steven Pintus, Director of Public Health, has led the development of the North East Lincolnshire Outbreak Control Plan which sets out how the Council will work with local partners and the NHS Test and Trace service to respond swiftly to contain and control any local outbreaks of the virus. This will enable a gradual return to normal life in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care.
The Council has a central role in the identification and management of any local outbreaks as they arise. The Plan, being considered by the special Cabinet meeting on June 29th, sets out measures such as potential temporary closure of individual locations to enable deep cleaning, rapid deployment of mobile testing units, and targeted communications in specific settings, communities or localities.
If approved, the plan will set out how the Council deals with any future cases of COVID-19, choosing how best to manage local infections and stop the spread of the virus.
Council Leader Philip Jackson said as the area continues to take the first, tentative steps back into normal life, it was important that everything be done to keep the virus out of communities, to prevent people becoming ill and to prevent more people from dying.
“ We all want to see restrictions continue to be eased, but should infection rates rise again, we face exactly the opposite with tighter restrictions and a possible return to the lockdown nobody wants to see, ‘’ he explained.
“This Outbreak Plan sets out a course of action on how we want to move forward in North East Lincolnshire and work with the overwhelming tide of people who are acting in the very best interests of their own communities and caring about the safety of others.
“Doing the right thing will help us keep this virus under control and help us all return to normal life as soon as is safely possible.’’