Please note that the data contained within this article is correct at the time of publication – as this is a changing picture, further updates will be provided to supersede this information as and when available.
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Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 22 July 2021. At the meeting, the Board reviewed the latest data available and updates on the current level of COVID-19 cases in the borough.
- The levels of positive COVID-19 cases in Knowsley are continuing to increase, but at a much slower pace than in recent weeks. The latest position showed 549 cases per 100,000 population – the borough is ranked 47th in the country for COVID-19 case levels.
- Peaks are consistently high across the North (with the North East currently having the highest numbers of infections) and there are pockets of high case levels in seaside destinations.
- In Knowsley, cases among people aged over 60 are falling, and the Board welcomed this positive news.
- Knowsley is however seeing increases in cases in the working age population, particularly among younger people aged 20-30 years. This is likely to be a result of lower numbers of younger people having been fully vaccinated. The Board once again recognised the importance of getting younger people vaccinated more quickly in order to reduce COVID-19 case levels in Knowsley.
- The numbers of people accessing testing sites in Knowsley have reduced slightly and the Board reiterated the need for regular testing and for results to be logged (whether positive, negative, or void). Regular testing identifies people without symptoms so that they can then self-isolate and stop passing the virus on to others. Further information about how to access tests can be found on Knowsley News. The Board also reiterated the need for regular testing to continue over the school holidays in order to contain the spread of the virus in Knowsley’s communities.
- Local hospital admissions are relatively low, although hospitals are reporting pressures due to staff absences.
- Vaccination uptake is plateauing in 50+ age groups – to maximise uptake, there is need to understand why some people have still not taken up the offer of the vaccine. In this respect, the Board was advised that Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group had once again been unable to send any representation to the Board to discuss the vaccination programme.
- The speed at which first dose vaccinations are being delivered to 18-49 year olds has slowed down. A substantial number of 18-29 year olds (27,000 people registered with a Knowsley GP) are not yet vaccinated, leaving them more vulnerable to COVID-19. A social media campaign will launch this week targeting this age group and outlining the importance of the vaccination.
- The Board highlighted the importance of being “double jabbed” as this offers the best protection against the virus. The Board recognised that national self-isolation policies are due to change next month, so that those who are “double jabbed” will have more freedoms to attend events etc. This means that should be even more incentive for younger people to receive the vaccine.
- The Board heard that a number of outbreaks in businesses (involving a small number of cases) are being managed and that infection control advice has been issued, along with signposting to local vaccination sites.
- The Board was updated on a joint Cheshire and Merseyside Directors of Public Health statement which had been issued ahead of the lifting of restrictions on Monday 19 July 2021. The advice from Directors of Public Health continues to be that people should cautious, get vaccinated, and continue with testing, self-isolation, and COVID safe working practices. The full statement is on Knowsley News.
The Board is chaired by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Graham Morgan, and membership includes the council’s Adult Social Care Cabinet Member (Councillor Louise Harbour), Resources Cabinet Member (Councillor Jayne Aston), Health Cabinet Member (Councillor Christine Bannon), and Chief Executive (Mike Harden) alongside Knowsley’s Director of Public Health (Dr Sarah McNulty) and representatives from Merseyside Police.