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Knowsley’s Outbreak Management Board update: 11 March

by Sandra Issar

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 11 March 2021.  At the meeting, the Board reviewed the latest data available and updates on the current level of COVID-19 cases in the Borough.

In summary:-

  • COVID-19 case levels in Knowsley had declined by 53% in the preceding seven days and stood at 60.3 per 100,000 population (as at 7 March 2021).
  • The case levels of COVID-19 in Knowsley were at the lowest level since 7 September 2020.
  • The significant decline in the number of cases in the over 60s population was particularly noteworthy – case levels amongst over 60s had decreased by 76% in the same seven day period and stood at 30.7 per 100,000.
  • All Board members noted this positive improvement in case levels, and particularly welcomed the reduction amongst the group of the population who are at most risk from the virus.
  • It was also noted however that there appeared to be indications that the rate of reduction in case levels was slowing and that case levels could potentially level off in the coming weeks. Data is being monitored consistently to identify any emerging trends and address any issues swiftly.
  • Local hospital admissions due to COVID-19 continued to fall and data was again being monitored closely.
  • An update was provided on testing data – this clearly showed a substantial increase in demand for SMART testing (73%) which had been driven by the re-opening of schools.
  • In the context of high participation in testing, the Board welcomed the fact that positivity levels remained low at around 0.3% of tests taken.
  • The Board noted a decline in participation in testing within workplaces and some issues with businesses being able to get the information which they need from the Government’s Department for Health and Social Care and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who are promoting participation by businesses in the scheme. It was agreed that these concerns should be escalated through feedback to the Government Departments concerned.
  • An update was provided on the current vaccination programme in the Borough, which had seen more than 55,000 Knowsley residents receive their first dose of the vaccine.
  • Some outline data was shared about vaccination take-up within priority groups. The Board was keen to understand more about the take-up figures in all groups so that work can be done to ensure that as many Knowsley residents as possible take up the vaccine.
  • The Board agreed to write to Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group to try to address some of the data protection issues surrounding the data and to understand what targeted interventions are planned to increase vaccination take-up via local GP practices.
  • An update was provided on current outbreaks within the Borough and the support being given to affected settings, businesses etc.
  • An update was provided on the proactive work being carried out at Jaguar Land Rover at the company’s plant in Halewood. This report summarised the extensive measures which the company has put in place during the pandemic, the organisation’s positive encouragement of testing, and work to investigate outbreaks and reduce the risk for staff.
  • The Board noted the excellent work which had been carried out by Jaguar Land Rover and was assured of the proactive and collaborative approach being taken by the company to meet the challenges which it is facing as a result of the virus.
  • Merseyside Police provided an update of their work in partnership with Council officers to address COVID-19 compliance issues across Knowsley.
  • Merseyside Police confirmed that, from 25 February 2021 to 5 March 2021, 157 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued across the Borough for COVID-19 regulation breaches.
  • It was noted that the recent re-opening of schools made it important to reiterate to residents that not all lockdown measures had been lifted – it remains crucially important to follow the rules in order to keep COVID-19 infections low and ensure that positive progress continues in respect of achieving the dates set out in the Government’s “Road Map”.

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.