Key messages from the Directors of Public Health 14.01.22

The Cheshire and Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet weekly. The key messages from the 14th January meeting are as follows:

  1. UKHSA COVID-19 update – Case rates are still high across Cheshire and Merseyside, especially in younger age groups and the over 60s. There are many outbreaks in care homes and in all prisons. Hospital admissions and deaths are thankfully low but increasing. Flu rates are rising slightly but there are no flu outbreaks in care homes presently which is good news. DsPH discussed the issues with staff absence due to high rates of Covid, not just across the NHS but in other critical services. The DsPH highlighted their concerns regarding the impact of current policy on the C&M population.
  2. New isolation rules – DsPH discussed the new rules. DsPH highlighted that isolation is still required for 10 days unless people test negative with a lateral flow test on days 5 and 6 and are without symptoms. Even then, DsPH recommend people be extremely careful, for example wearing a face covering where appropriate and not being in contact with anyone that is vulnerable. An updated set of key messages for the public will be circulated to both LRF comms cells.
  3. Lessons learned from COVID-19 – DsPH discussed holding a future session to look at the public health response to Covid across Cheshire and Merseyside and lessons learned. This will help with preparedness for any future pandemics.
  4. Liverpool University research proposal – A research proposal has been signed off nationally to understand the effectiveness of the new policy on isolation. The research will be carried out by Professor Iain Buchan’s team through Liverpool University Hospital Foundation Trust (The Royal Liverpool and Aintree).
  5. Excess mortality data – North West data on causes of mortality was shared with DsPH. The DsPH and health care public health leads will review the data and look at any further priorities to be tackled, working with the Health and Care Partnership (HCP) and OHID.
  6. Good news and gratitude:
  • 326 people have registered to attend the wellbeing event scheduled to take place on Friday 28th January with Art of Brilliance. Places can still be booked online here
  • The presentation of the interim report for C&M, delivered by Sir Michael Marmot to the HCP Partnership Board, was very well received with strong support from the Board.
  • Gratitude was expressed to all who have been involved in the development of the 2022/23 HCP Population Health bid which has now been submitted.
  • Alan Higgins advised that he will be leaving UKSHA on 22nd March 2022, the DsPH wished him well and thanked him for all his support.
  • Gratitude was expressed by the C&M Contact Tracing Board to the local authority contact tracers and C&M Hub colleagues for their support over the extremely busy festive period.