Please note that the data contained within this article is correct on the date of publication – 4.9.20 – but, as this is a changing picture, further updates will be provided to supercede this information as and when available. Anybody relying on or reporting on this information after this date should check that it still reflects the latest published position.
Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 3 September 2020. The Board reviewed the most up to date COVID-19 data available for the Borough including number of cases, tests undertaken and general trends.
- Knowsley continues to see good engagement and testing rates.
- Knowsley’s positive test rate (currently 1% of people tested are found to be positive) is lower than the North West (2.3%) and national (1.4%) rates.
- There are no clear trends identified with regard to the locations of cases in Knowsley, although it was noted that a slight trend is emerging in relation to positive cases amongst females under 30 years of age. Interestingly, this trend is shared with a neighbouring borough, and the trend towards younger adults, is shared across the country.
- An update was provided on the establishment of a Cheshire and Merseyside Contact Tracing Hub for COVID-19 infections in complex settings and cases (including schools and care homes). Test and Trace data relating to such settings will be triaged locally and the Hub will then identify contacts who will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. This swift action will minimise the chance of wide transmission of the disease in local communities.
- The Board received an update on the forthcoming Flu Immunisation Programme and the plans being progressed to offer residents both walk-in and drive-through immunisation facilities across the borough. Details in respect of dates, locations and how to book a flu jab will be published here on knowsleynews.co.uk once they have been confirmed.
- The Board was advised that antibody testing was now available for Knowsley Council’s Adult Social Care staff, domiciliary care staff (i.e. working for privately owned businesses which are registered with the Care Quality Commission), and Adult Social Care Personal Assistants and care home staff. The antibody test will only reveal if a person has already had the virus. Receiving a positive antibody test result does not mean that a person is safe from COVID-19 as there is no evidence that those who have had the virus develop any long-lasting immunity which would prevent them from getting the virus again.
- The Board received an update on travel arrangements to support the re-opening of schools after the summer break. The council is in daily contact with travel providers and additional buses can be provided if required. It was noted that some schools will not open fully until next week, and that demand for transport services is being reviewed daily. With regard to transport for pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities, travel providers have put a number of safety measures in place, including logging details to assist with contract tracing, wearing of Personal Protective Equipment if required, and maintaining regular hand washing.
- The Board was updated on a new local testing site which will be available from next week (from Friday 11 September 2020) in Huyton for approximately three months. Located on the car park opposite Huyton Library, this will be a walk-through facility but appointments still need to be booked in advance by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. It will offer people greater choice in terms of where they can get tested if they are displaying symptoms, particularly if they don’t have a car to access the drive through testing facilities. The symptoms are a high temperature, new/persistent cough, or a loss of taste or smell.
- The Board agreed that efforts should be made to introduce further local testing sites in other places in Knowsley and asked for urgent work to be undertaken in this respect.
- The Board received an update on The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) (No 3) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 18 July 2020 and will (currently) expire at the end of 17 January 2021.
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of the Council and Chairperson of the Outbreak Management Board, commented: “It’s really important that everyone plays their part to stop the spread of the virus. This includes maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering where advised continually to regularly wash your hands. It’s disappointing that we are still receiving reports of people not wearing face coverings in many of our shops. This is one of the measures which we know will help to stop the spread of the virus and ultimately prevent the need for any local lockdowns – something that I’m sure our residents won’t want to happen.”
“I would encourage everyone to get into the routine not only of taking your keys, phone and wallet/purse when you leave the house, but also taking a face covering – this simple action is vital at the current time. We are doing well in Knowsley – and we want to carry on doing well.”]
About the Board
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.