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.
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Knowsley’s latest Outbreak Management Board meeting took place on Thursday 24 June 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 case levels in Knowsley are rising – current levels stand at 177 per 100,000 population. These figures mirror the trends in other areas of the Liverpool City Region, and are expected to continue to increase.
- Case levels are high across the North West, but the Liverpool City Region is currently seeing the most rapid increases in case levels.
- Hospital admissions due to COVID-19 have also started to increase, albeit in small numbers so far – hospitals are currently managing the pressure well.
- Case levels are increasing among the over 60s population but are still relatively small in number – which is a positive sign that the vaccine is working.
- Predominantly, the majority of cases in Knowsley are currently among the younger age population – this is not unexpected as this age group is the most socially mobile and also has not been as widely vaccinated.
- It was particularly noted that the prevalence of the virus among the younger age groups is having a significant impact on schools and education in general – which is of concern in view of the impact on young people’s education over the last 14 months.
- The Board noted the positive response from Knowsley schools and the proactive work being undertaken in the secondary sector to step up testing capabilities – with most secondary schools now offering assisted testing to improve testing levels and accuracy.
- Workplace outbreaks are relatively small in number and support continues to be given to businesses and other settings during this latest wave of the virus.
- An update was provided to the Board regarding the outcome of the Government’s consultation on the mandatory vaccination of care home staff. It was confirmed that it will soon be mandatory for ALL staff (including administrative and other support staff) to receive the vaccination. This national policy was strongly supported by the Board. There is now a 16-week window to ensure that any outstanding vaccinations can take place before the requirement comes into effect. Compliance will be monitored by the Care Quality Commission as part of the wider care home inspection regime.
- Other feedback from the Government consultation has led to further consideration about mandatory vaccinations for other individuals working with vulnerable residents – e.g. domiciliary care, social workers, NHS workers etc. It is expected that further announcements will be made by the Government later this year.
- Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) presented an update to the Board on the roll out of the vaccination programme. The CCG specifically outlined the progress made on plans to address the concerns previously shared by the Board with regard to the availability and accessibility of vaccinations within the borough – particularly for the 18-49 age groups.
- All parties were in agreement that the ultimate aim for all concerned was to get as many people in Knowsley vaccinated as quickly as possible.
- Work to improve accessibility has moved forward but plans had still not been finalised and the Board expressed concerns again about the pace of the work.
- It was agreed that a further meeting with key partners at Knowsley Council, Knowsley CCG, and other health bodies would take place urgently to finalise arrangements.
- All agreed that this is the ultimate priority of the Board and will be prioritised accordingly.
- Merseyside Police provided an update to the Board and confirmed that Knowsley’s night-time economy was working well and that there continued to be good compliance with regulations.
- The Board was updated on the extensive communications which continue to be rolled out, including updates on current rules, the importance and locations of testing, and vaccination advice and eligibility. This included work to address misinformation.
- It was noted that, when plans are agreed to improve accessibility to vaccinations, a full communications campaign would be rolled out in support.
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 and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.