PLEASE NOTE: THIS ARTICLE HAS NOW BEEN ARCHIVED AND THE DATA CONTAINED BELOW IS NO LONGER UP-TO-DATE.
Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 28 January 2021. At the meeting, the Board reviewed the latest data available and updates on the current level of cases in the borough.
- Over the preceding week, COVID-19 case levels had continued to decrease but Knowsley continued to have the highest case numbers per head of population in the whole of the United Kingdom.
- The number of people in Knowsley testing positive for COVID-19 was 779.5 per 100,000 population (as at 24 January 2021). This was a reduction compared to the figures reported to the Board one week earlier, which had been 1,103.7 per 100,000 population (as at 16 January 2021).
- It was noted, once more, that the rate of this decline was significantly slower than the rate at which figures had increased in the weeks following Christmas.
- If the current pace of decline continues, projections show that it will take until mid-February for Knowsley figures to reach the current national average – around 400 per 100,000 population (which is still high).
- Knowsley was now also starting to see a decline in number of cases in the over 60s population.
- Cases of COVID-19 in the over 80s population were not showing any reduction – 48 new cases had been recorded in the previous seven days. Although this is a relatively low proportion of overall cases in Knowsley, the figures still give cause for concern in view of the risk which the virus presents to this age group and the likelihood of these individuals needing hospital treatment as a result of contracting the virus.
- All agreed that, despite case levels decreasing, the transmission of the virus within the community was still at a dangerously high level.
- All concluded that it was still far too early to seriously consider any prospect of lockdown being eased. Unlocking society when rates are still so high would only lead to cases increasing again and another wave of infections. This is especially the case due to the new variants of the virus being more easily transmitted.
- Admissions to Merseyside hospitals had started to stabilise but COVID-19 bed occupancy and demand for beds in High Dependency Units and Intensive Therapy Units due to COVID-19 was still high.
- Hospitals serving Knowsley residents had been particularly impacted in recent weeks and the Council has been working closely with health partner agencies to address the situation.
- The Board was specifically updated on the work carried out by the council to ensure swift discharges and support for patients when they leave hospital. This has received particular positive feedback from the NHS.
- An update was provided by Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Executive, Dianne Johnson, on the roll-out of the vaccination programme.
- Current data shows that more than 18,000 Knowsley residents had received their first dose of the vaccine.
- All Knowsley care homes for the elderly have now been vaccinated (staff and residents) and vaccinations for housebound residents will begin to be rolled out by GP practices early next week (week commencing 1 February 2021).
- A new vaccination centre in Halewood (at The Hollies Community Centre) will open this weekend (30 January 2021).
- Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group reported a steady flow of vaccine supplies to the area.
- Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed that all residents aged 70 or above are now eligible to be vaccinated and a telephone line is being promoted for any 80+ residents to make appointments if they have not already received an invitation.
- Knowsley’s SMART testing centres continue to operate well, and feedback has been very positive from the community using the facilities.
- Currently, around 20% of all cases of COVID-19 in Knowsley are being identified through the local SMART testing centres.
- The Board was updated on a number of outbreaks across the borough, including those in workplaces, care homes etc. It was noted by all that this is a likely consequence when there is such high prevalence of the virus in the community. The Board was updated on the extensive advice and support provided in the case of outbreaks and the regular monitoring which is ongoing.
- It was reported by Merseyside Police that numerous Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued in the preceding week to members of the public found not to be wearing face coverings in retail premises – this included Asda in Huyton, Tesco in Prescot, Nisa in Stockbridge Village, and Aldi on Cronton Road. This work will continue.
- In addition, Merseyside Police had taken action against individuals partaking in unnecessary travel and breaching household mixing rules.
The Board is chaired by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Graham Morgan, and membership includes the Council’s Health and Social Care Cabinet Member (Councillor Sean Donnelly), Resources Cabinet Member (Councillor Jayne Aston), and Chief Executive (Mike Harden) alongside Knowsley’s Director of Public Health (Dr Sarah McNulty) and representatives from Merseyside Police and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.