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Knowsley Outbreak Management Board Update

by Nicola Appleton

Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 5 November 2020.  At the meeting, the Board reviewed the latest data available and updates on the current level of cases in the Borough.

In summary, the Board noted:-

  • Knowsley is continuing to see a steady decline in the rates of people testing positive for COVID-19. The rate as at 1 November 2020 was 367.2 per 100,000 population.  This compares to 589.5 per 100,000 just over one week ago (as at 23 October 2020).
  • The Board welcomed the reduction in positive cases but acknowledged that the level of COVID-19 cases in Knowsley continues to be very high and therefore should continue to cause concern.
  • It was also noted that, due to the mass testing pilot being undertaken in Liverpool, Knowsley’s rates are likely to start to increase again in the coming weeks as asymptomatic residents from Knowsley may be tested in Liverpool and found to be positive for COVID-19. Indeed, the aim of such mass testing is to identify those asymptomatic people who would not otherwise have known that they had COVID-19 and prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus within the community.
  • The Board acknowledged the efforts and actions of the local community which will have contributed to the decline in cases over the last week or so. The Leader of the Council expressed his wish to thank residents and businesses and to encourage them to keep up the good work as the second national lockdown commences.
  • Rates for the over 60s population in Knowsley are currently 357.2 per 100,000 – again, this is cause for concern as this is the group most likely to become most ill from the virus and require hospitalisation
  • While testing rates in Knowsley are continuing to reduce, they are still high overall (the highest in the Cheshire and Merseyside region).
  • In the last 14 days 1,502 positive cases have been reported in Knowsley (this compares to 1,820 in the previous 14-day period).
  • Hospital admissions continue to increase across Merseyside. In the St Helens and Knowsley Trust specifically, the number of beds in High Dependency Units/Intensive Therapy Units occupied by COVID-19 patients has notably increased in the last week.
  • Local contact tracing has been operating on a seven days per week basis in Knowsley since 6 October 2020. To date, there have been 1,314 cases passed to the Knowsley team to follow up (an increase of 207 in the last week).
  • The local team is finding that it is able successfully to contact around 30% of those cases within just one phone call and call back rates indicate good engagement from the community in this new local service.
  • More work is already under way to enhance this local service, which will play such an important role in tackling the spread of the virus.

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 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