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.
Anybody relying on this information should check that it reflects the latest published position.
Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 16 December 2021. At the meeting, the Board reviewed the latest data available and updates on the current level of COVID-19 cases in the borough.
- COVID-19 cases in the borough are rising at a similar rate to the national pattern. The current case level in Knowsley is 472.3 cases per 100,000 population – a 14% increase on the previous week.
- Case levels continue to be highest among 10-14 year olds and younger children, although case levels among the over 60s in Knowsley have also increased over the last week.
- As is the case across the country, cases of the new Omicron variant are now being detected in Knowsley. The doubling rate for the new variant is 2-3 days and the expectation is that cases will rise significantly in the coming days.
- With the Christmas festivities approaching, and increased level of socialising and household mixing will result in the virus spreading quickly.
- Residents are therefore encouraged to “prioritise your socialising” – if people do decide to go out, they are asked to do the right thing by getting tested in advance of meeting others. This is particularly important for those who will be seeing vulnerable residents. Along with wearing a face covering, ensuring that rooms are well ventilated, and regular hand washing, testing will help to stop the spread of the virus.
- Those local businesses hosting events and hospitality over the Christmas period are also encouraged to ask their customers to adhere to the latest guidance.
- There are significant pressures on local hospitals and higher COVID-19 case levels are expected to worsen these pressures as a result of the consequent increase in hospital admissions due to COVID-19.
- Two vaccinations and a booster provide the best possible protection from the Omicron variant. There are a number of drop-in vaccination clinics taking place in the borough offering first, second, and booster vaccines. It is very important for all residents to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Further details can be found here on Knowsley News. In addition, residents can book appointments through the national booking system – by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccine or calling 119.
- The Government announced on Sunday 12 December 2021 that all over 18s would be offered a booster by the end of December 2021. As a result, further vaccination clinics are being arranged in Halewood, Huyton, and Kirkby and Knowsley Clinical Commissioning group is also looking to setting up “pop up” vaccination sites in areas of the borough where the uptake of the vaccine remains low.
- The lowest level of vaccination uptake in the borough is amongst the younger population (aged 20-39 years).
- The Board was reminded of the new national measures introduced earlier this week to reduce the spread of the virus – working from home as far as possible, wearing a face covering in most indoor settings, and the requirement for proof of a COVID-19 Pass or a negative Lateral Flow Test result before gaining entry into a number of venues.
- Changes to self-isolation arrangements had also been announced by the Government with daily testing introduced for people who are close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case (instead of self-isolation).
- The Board was also updated on changes to national guidance in respect of care homes. Three visitors can now be nominated per resident. Visitors must arrange a time in advance of visiting, must ensure that they have proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test result on the day of visitation, and must not attend care settings if they feel unwell. Care home visitors and staff should comply with the latest guidance in respect of personal protective equipment and infection control.
- Schools are continuing to follow the latest Government guidance including staff, visitors and pupils in Year 7 and above wearing face coverings in communal areas.
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 (when required).