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Knowsley Outbreak Management Board – 10 June 2021

by Gemma Melling


Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 10 June 2021.  At the meeting, the Board reviewed the latest data available and updates on the current level of COVID-19 cases in the Borough.

In summary:

  • The Chairperson of the Outbreak Management Board welcomed Councillor Louise Harbour as the newly appointed Deputy Leader of the Council and Vice-Chair of the Board. Councillor Christine Bannon was also welcomed to the Board in her capacity as the newly appointed Cabinet Member for Health.
  • COVID-19 cases in Knowsley are increasing due to the spread of the Delta variant.
  • At the time of the Board’s meeting, the latest data on case levels in Knowsley stood at 49.7 per 100,000 population (as at 6 June 2021).
  • With regard to the vaccination programme, 67% of Knowsley residents had received their first dose and 48% of residents had received a second dose. It is essential that residents have both doses for the maximum possible protection from the virus.
  • Cases are higher in less vaccinated age groups, and particularly among those aged 20-34 years. Analysis of more recent cases also shows evidence of household transmission.
  • Testing rates have fallen in the borough – both in relation to PCR testing for people experiencing symptoms and for regular lateral flow testing for everyone. Testing is essential to identify people who have the virus without symptoms who can then obtain a confirmatory PCR test and self-isolate to stop them passing on the virus to others.
  • To increase access to PCR testing for people with symptoms, it was noted that a Mobile Testing Unit would be on Shevington Road in Kirkby from 10am until 4pm on Friday 11 June 2021.
  • Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group provided an update on the COVID-19 vaccination programme which they are leading in Knowsley.
  • GPs are looking to increase the uptake of the vaccination by organising pop-up vaccination sites, using the vaccine bus, and arranging home visits.
  • Vaccination sites include Daveys Chemist (Dinas Lane in Huyton), Whiston Village Hotel, Superdrug in Huyton, Aintree Racecourse, Boots in Speke, and the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens.
  • The Board called for better access to vaccination sites for Knowsley residents. Knowsley CCG advised that they are looking at additional transport links to existing sites and an alternative vaccination service for cohorts 10-12 (those aged 18-49 years).
  • The Board was clear that the COVID-19 vaccination needs to be taken out to residents, and that eligible residents must not face barriers to getting vaccinated (e.g. due to not having a car or because public transport is not available).
  • The vaccination bus had visited Kirkby and Page Moss – in total, 157 first doses and 295 second doses were administered during those visits. The Board agreed that these figures demonstrated that “taking the vaccine to local people” would result in more vaccinations being carried out and people being vaccinated more quickly, which is extremely important in the context of rising case levels locally.
  • Feedback from some residents who haven’t had the vaccine suggested that people believe that they don’t need it either because they think that the pandemic is “nearly over” or because they have already had COVID-19 and are therefore “immune”. It was agreed that such myths need to be addressed in any further communications issued.
  • With regard to enforcement, Merseyside Police has received only a small number of recent reports about COVID-19 breaches. The hospitality sector was working well and complying with the restrictions which remain in place.  Extra patrols were planned to coincide with the Euros (commencing on Friday 11 June 2021) and the anticipated imminent warmer weather.

The Knowsley Outbreak Management Board is responsible for overseeing Knowsley’s Outbreak Management Plan – you can read it on Knowsley Council’s website.

The Board is chaired by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Graham Morgan, and membership includes the Council’s Deputy Leader (Councillor Louise Harbour) who is also the Vice-Chair, the Council’s Resources Cabinet Member (Councillor Jayne Aston), the Council’s Health Cabinet Member (Cllr Christine Bannon) and Chief Executive (Mike Harden) alongside Knowsley’s Director of Public Health (Dr Sarah McNulty) and a representative from Merseyside Police.