The Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) Directors of Public Health (DsPH) currently meet weekly. The key messages from the 17th September meeting are as follows:
COVID-19 guidance for schools
- DsPH discussed refreshing existing advice and guidance for local schools to support with managing positive cases of COVID-19 in the classroom. This will be updated and will include the latest information from Public Health England.
PHE surveillance and response report and strategic action
- There is variation in case numbers across the region, with some areas showing an increase, decrease or remaining level.
- The highest case numbers are being seen in those aged 17 to 24 with case numbers in those over 60 decreasing.
- The drop in testing rates is being monitored
- A study has been completed which demonstrates that whilst the effectiveness of the vaccine does diminish over time, this is not by a huge amount (10 to 20%), supporting the policy to deliver booster vaccinations and demonstrating the break in the link between hospitalisation and death.
- DsPH are working with the national testing team to ensure that Cheshire and Merseyside will be supported by a robust COVID-19 testing strategy over the coming months and into 2022. Locally, DsPH have been working with the subregion’s testing team to ensure that any issues or concerns raised are consistent and developed collaboratively. Conversations are ongoing with the necessary national partners including colleagues at the Joint Biosecurity Centre.
Vaccination programme – 12 to 15 age group and booster jabs
- DsPH are closely following the strategy for immunising children aged between 12 and 15 within school settings and are working with partners in the NHS to ensure this is rolled out in the most effective way.
Good news and gratitude
- Thara Raj, DPH for Warrington, has been awarded a Service Medal by the Faculty of Public Health in recognition of her work as a CPD adviser.
- The ‘Getting Under The Skin’ ethnic minority COVID-19 research project and subsequent #LetsGetVaccinated campaign has won two awards at the NHS Communicate Awards 2021. The winning categories are ‘Use of insight and data for innovation in communications award’ and ‘Best behaviour change and public health campaign award’
- Andrea Sanabria, a Consultant in Public Health in Warrington, has recently had a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology titled ‘The UpPriority tool, which supported prioritization processes for updating clinical guideline questions’, free access for a short while and can be found here.
- A number of case studies from the Cheshire East ‘Swab Squad’ have been included in the Department of Health best practice guidance which will be published in the near future.