C&M DsPH weekly update w/e 5.2.21

The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet for weekly calls. The key messages from the 5th February meeting are as follows:

  1. Extended symptoms for PCR testing – The DsPH agreed to extend the list of symptoms for which people can request a COVID-19 PCR test. This is in light of current high infection rates and new mutations/variants which are reporting different symptoms to the classic three COVID-19 symptoms. An addendum to the testing strategy was shared and will be circulated to each LRF. Local areas will handle communications to the public.
  2. PHE update – Exceedance report/de-escalation from lockdown paper – The number of cases continues to decline across C&M, however some areas are declining very slowing or levelling off.  A C&M de-escalation from lockdown paper was discussed further and will be shared with CEOs. The paper will also help inform discussions with the JBC.
  3. DHSC bid to enhance contact tracing – A bid was agreed by DsPH to be submitted to DHSC for extra resources to strengthen contact tracing in C&M for the next 12 months.
  4. Vaccination programme update – Dianne Draper joined the DsPH to give an update on the vaccination programme. All mass vaccination sites/PCNs are operating well.  Going forward, a DPH will sit on the “gold” vaccination meetings as agreed with Dr Jackie Bene from the C&M Health & Care Partnership. Liverpool are due to launch a vaccination campaign to BAME communities.
  5. Workplace outbreaks paper – A C&M paper on COVID management in workplaces has been developed by Eileen O’Meara and was agreed by DsPH. It will now be shared widely across C&M and nationally.
  6. PHE roadmap workshop – A one off workshop will be held on Wednesday 10th February at 11.30 am to look at developing a medium to long term COVID recovery plan. PHE would like local views to feed in nationally, therefore, Ian Ashworth (on behalf of Cheshire & Warrington DsPH) and Sarah McNulty (on behalf of LCR DsPH) will attend.
  7. The DsPH also shared good news and gratitude:
  • The DsPH sent their congratulations to Richard Holford from Knowsley upon the completion of his portfolio.
  • Tracey Lambert expressed her thanks to all for the submission of contact tracing case studies to support the LJMU qualitative work, these will be written up to showcase the work of local teams and the hub.
  • The Champs website has been updated and refreshed and has now gone live champspublichealth.com