Nottinghamshire County Council will be setting out plans to establish a dedicated Covid-19 response service which, if approved, will operate over the next 24 months.
The Government’s Contain Framework sets out the responsibility which local authorities must continue to exercise for the prevention and management of Covid-19 outbreaks in their areas.
National ring-fenced funding has been made available to local authorities to support this responsibility. The County Council has published its Local Outbreak Management Plan and is putting arrangements in place to meet the new requirement.
The Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee will meet on Monday 14 June to consider the Covid-19 response service and its role in delivering the Local Outbreak Management Plan as the Council shapes Nottinghamshire’s recovery and builds resilience following the pandemic.
The Covid-19 response service will deliver Public Health activities that ‘seek to prevent, reduce and contain infection’ as the country moves through the Government’s roadmap.
This work will include acting to protect people’s health, supporting people to protect themselves, their families and their communities and building confidence by sharing information, communicating and engaging with residents.
Services which will be involved in supporting the Covid-19 response service include:
• Dedicated Public Health Covid-19 response team
• Community symptomatic and asymptomatic testing
• Customer service centre contact tracing
• Infection, prevention and control activities in certain settings
• Swabbing services for community testing
• Doorstep contract tracing services
• Data analysis and outbreak investigation
• Communications and engagement.
Councillor Boyd Elliott, Chairman of the Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee said:
“Over the last 18 months or so, thanks to the efforts of our colleagues, Public Health England, partners across the Local Resilience Forum and volunteers, we have collectively addressed and responded to Covid-19 outbreaks in multiple settings and locations.
“Through our Community Hub we have assisted those who have had to shield, we’ve supported staff and residents in our care homes and home care settings and developed a community testing offer.
“We have seen the development of vaccines and our NHS colleagues have administered over 900,000 vaccinations.
“We are now in a much stronger position. However, Covid-19 has not gone away and the Government has made it clear that local authorities have a requirement to put robust arrangements in place to respond to any outbreaks that may occur.
“We’ve said in our Local Outbreak Management Plan that even with the widespread uptake of effective vaccines, Covid-19 will continue to circulate for some time to come.
“So, we need to put arrangements in place to ensure that people, local businesses, employers, schools and society generally can live safely whilst avoiding the need for general lockdowns.
“We need to have plans which will enable people in Nottinghamshire to live with Covid-19 in a way that is safe, confident and minimises risk to our economy, our schools and civic society – and enables us to flourish.
“This is what the Covid-19 response service will help us to achieve. It will provide a means by which colleagues will be able to focus on and deliver the outbreak response needed for any potential situations which could arise, such as:
• multiple large local outbreaks
• the emergence of new variants
• possible seasonal resurgences
“The Covid-19 response service will help us to remain on the front foot through its monitoring, surveillance, testing, contact tracing, infection control, engagement and other activities and have the right resources in place to address any emerging issues.”
It is proposed that the Covid-19 service be funded by the national Test and Trace Grant and Contain Outbreak Management Fund at a cost of approximately £6,480,276 over two years.
The Covid-19 response service will include 41.3 fte posts.