Agenda item

Covid Update - Public Health and Adult Social Care

To receive a covid update presentation covering public health and adult social care.


The Sub-committee received a Covid 19 update covering public health and adult social care.


It was noted that Covid rates are increasing across the country and the North East, along with the North West, now have the highest rates in the country.  The rates in the borough at 1002 cases in the last 7 days are at their highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, but this is not seeing the same impact on the health service.  It was noted that high rates are being driven by those under 25, but rates currently remain relatively low in the over 50s.


The sub-committee was advised that outbreaks were impacting on schools in the borough which is creating a challenging situation for schools.  It was noted that four schools are currently closed and around half of schools have outbreaks.  However, most young people who test positive are not experiencing illness. 


In relation to the vaccine roll out, 80% of adults in the borough have received a first dose of the vaccine and 64% have received two doses.  Innovative approaches are being employed to increase uptake among younger age groups, including pop up vaccination centres.  It was noted that approval has not yet been given to vaccinate children under 18 years old.


A member requested clarification of figures in the presentation in terms of actual case numbers and how this translates into a rate per 100,000.  It was noted that both the actual number of positive cases and the rate per 100,000 had been provided.  The cases per 100,000 measurement was used nationally to allow a comparison to be made between areas.


Members highlighted concerns about the impact of school closures on education and the rules for schools in dealing with outbreaks.  It was acknowledged that the strategy for schools is no longer working and representations have been made nationally about the need for changes.  Schools are required to follow the national guidance and that will be the position for the next two weeks until the end of term. 


It was noted that current isolation rules are impacting on businesses in the region both in terms of staff impacted and also parents who are having to look after children who are out of school.  It was noted that the council had not been badly impacted by staff absences at the current time with around 30 staff currently self isolating.


There was some discussion about what is likely to happen in September.  It was noted that plans are being put in place for a booster vaccine in the autumn.


Members paid tribute to the hard work of the public health team over the last 18 months.


The Sub-committee then received an update in relation to adult social care.  It was noted that there is currently one outbreak in a care home in the borough although all those affected have been double vaccinated and are asymptomatic.  The local authority is continuing to provide support through risk assessment and infection control advice. Care homes that are in outbreak situations are closed to visitors.


It was noted that vaccine rates for residents and staff were high at around 86% and increasing.  The council is working with partners to continue to encourage vaccine take up.  It was noted that the government are proposing mandatory vaccinations for all care staff from October 2021.


There was some discussion about support for residents of sheltered accommodation.  It was noted that residents and staff were part of the priority group to receive vaccinations at the start of the programme.