The plan, presented to Thursday 9 July’s board meeting, sets out the priorities and actions necessary to respond to an outbreak and to prevent outbreaks from happening.
The plan also explains the work being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the community, identifying and managing a local outbreak, and the support available to individuals and communities affected by the virus.
Led by Shropshire Council’s director of public health, the Local Outbreak Control Plan has been produced by the council’s COVID-19 Health Protection Boards, with the support of partners and members of the Local Resilience Forum and Shropshire’s Engagement Board, a public-facing board led by councillors.
Shropshire’s Local Outbreak Control Plan focuses nine priorities:
- Governance – who is involved in the delivery of the plan and how they will work together. This includes working with organisations across the health, care, voluntary and community sector, and councillors, to make sure the right decisions and actions are taken which will help prevent outbreaks in Shropshire.
- Prevention – the work being done in our local communities to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as providing advice and guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene, identifying symptoms and when to get tested.
- Settings and communities – the measures in place to assist care homes, education settings, businesses, workers, residents and visitors, to ensure everyone is kept safe.
- Vulnerable people – supporting those who need help the most.
- Communications and engagement –how we are communicating and engaging with people and organisations about the work we’re doing and what they can do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Testing capacity – explaining the current testing methods and how testing, including contact tracing, will be organised in the event of an outbreak.
- NHS Test and Trace and infection control – working with settings such as schools and care homes to trace contacts and manage the situation when there is an outbreak.
- Surveillance and monitoring – collecting and understanding the data we have on coronavirus cases, so we can see what best actions to take.
- Regulation, including lockdown plans – looking at what enforcement action can be taken if individuals/organisations don’t comply with the Government guidelines and legislation.
Lee Chapman, Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Shropshire’s Local Outbreak Control Plan will build on the comprehensive work already being done by councils and directors of public health to respond to coronavirus locally.
“The plan demonstrates our commitment to dealing with outbreaks quickly and effectively, and our determination to prevent outbreaks from happening.
“All our communities have a part to play in helping prevent a local outbreak by supporting our plans and following the NHS Test and Trace protocol, to protect themselves, their family and friends. The virus is still out there, and we need to remain vigilant and take precautions. It’s through supporting each other and your local council that we will continue to win this fight against coronavirus, and to help prevent any further outbreaks.”
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, added: “Our Local Outbreak Control Plan will help protect all residents, including our most vulnerable, and sets out how we will work together with local care homes, schools, healthcare settings, local businesses and others most at risk.
“As a council we already manage local outbreaks and continuously undertake work to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, whist it’s great to see lockdown easing, with children going back in school and more businesses opening, this increased movement of people increases the need to take swift control of any local outbreaks, to avoid further spread of the virus.
“I would like to thank our public health team for the exceptional work they have done in putting this plan together and to prepare their communities for coronavirus outbreaks, protecting the most vulnerable and helping to save lives. The team continue to work tirelessly to tackle outbreaks and develop wider plans to break the chain of transmission in their local communities.”
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:- “Shropshire’s Local Outbreak Control Plan is in place to ensure we are well prepared to effectively contain the coronavirus and reduce its spread in the community. The outbreak plan is active and continuous, and will evolve and build as we learn.
“Whilst I am confident our local arrangements are robust and in place to deal with local cases, we continue to rely on everyone to play their part, by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and by booking a test if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, and by self-isolating.
“Although we are seeing a drop in cases across Shropshire and the UK as a whole, this is not a time to be complacent. As national restrictions are relaxed it is even more important that everyone plays their part to help protect their families, friends and neighbours from the risk of a local outbreak.”
Shropshire’s Local Outbreak Control Plan is a living document and can be read in full here.