Home Coronavirus: News and Advice Knowsley’s Outbreak Management Board Update: 25 March 2021
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Knowsley’s Outbreak Management Board Update: 25 March 2021

by Jonathan Kearney

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 25 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 have continued to decrease since the last Outbreak Management Board meeting on 11 March 2021. Levels currently stand at 43.1 per 100,000 population (compared to 60.3 per 100,000 population reported at the last meeting (as at 7 March 2021)).
  • The case levels of COVID-19 in Knowsley are now at the lowest level since August 2020.
  • Some comparative data was shared with the Board which showed that Knowsley’s levels are also now below the national average – 57.1 per 100,000 – and the North West average – 72 per 100,000.
  • It was noted that rates appeared to have stabilised over the preceding seven days. Early indications showed that schools reopening had not had a negative impact on case levels.
  • The Board particularly welcomed date showing that case levels in the over 60s population have continued to decline significantly and are now at 8.4 per 100,000 population – which is one of the lowest rates in the country (currently 19th lowest).
  • The Board was updated on the vaccination programme which continues to progress well across the Borough.
  • All agreed that the progress of this programme is essential to Knowsley’s recovery from COVID-19 and that continued progress is one of the key gateway requirements to enable the further easing of lockdown restrictions.
  • In light of the need to maximise take-up of the vaccine, the Chairperson of the Outbreak Management Board asked for Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group representation at the next Board meeting in order to provide feedback from GPs as to any reasons or issues for non-take up of the vaccine in priority groups.
  • This feedback will enable the Board to assess the progress of the roll-out, address any barriers, and ensure that as many people as possible in Knowsley are protected from the virus.
  • Some data was shared with the Board relating to the effectiveness of the vaccine in care home populations – showing clearly that it is effective in reducing serious illness and hospitalisation as a result of COVID-19.
  • An update was provided on SMART testing which continues across the Borough and has recently been extended until the end of June 2021.
  • The Board was also advised of arrangements to facilitate community collection of tests and plans for the future, including potential provision for testing within town centres and via a mobile testing facility. Development work is ongoing in this respect and the Boar agreed to receive further updates in due course.
  • A specific update on school testing was provided and the Board was advised that work is ongoing to ensure good take-up of testing in schools and to remind families of the need to continue to test over the Easter break and before returning to school.
  • An overview of current outbreaks was given, but it was noted that such incidents are now low in number and only impacting small numbers of individuals.
  • An update from Merseyside Police confirmed that over the last 14-day period (11-25 March 2021) 117 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued for COVID-19 regulation breaches.
  • Merseyside Police and other colleagues noted the imminent pressure and potential issues arising from the further relaxation of lockdown measures on 29 March 2021 and 12 April 2021.
  • All were keen to remind residents of the need to remain cautious and adhere to the new rules, and to highlight again the fact that all dates in the “Road Map” could be delayed should case levels begin to rise due to more social mixing.

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.