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Coronavirus what you need to know

Local leadership to prevent the further spread of COVID-19

by Gemma Melling

Community leaders in Knowsley have come together to share knowledge, expertise and resources to help to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus in the borough.

As lockdown restrictions are now starting to be eased, a key part of these preparations is the development an Outbreak Management Plan, aimed at effectively containing the COVID-19 virus and reducing its spread in the community.  You can read the plan on Knowsley Council’s website.

The plan will be monitored and updated by the newly established Knowsley Outbreak Management Board which held its first meeting today.  The Board will consider local disease and outbreak information, provide recommendations to local agencies, support and co-ordinate the local response to COVID-19, support and ensure that effective communication with communities is delivered and maintained, particularly around prevention, the NHS Test and Trace service and identifying an outbreak.

By analysing all available data across partner agencies, preventative action can be taken where any increases in cases are being reported.

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.

The Board will work closely with residents, businesses, the NHS and health services, care homes and schools not only to prevent outbreaks but also to be prepared if an outbreak in Knowsley does occur.  The Board will regularly share updates from its meetings here on www.knowsleynews.co.uk and social media.

Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council and Chair of the Knowsley Outbreak Management Board, said: “By working together, we can ensure that we reduce the chance of the further spread of Coronavirus here in Knowsley and ultimately prevent the need for further lockdowns.  We all want our lives to get back to some kind of normality – for businesses to once again open, for all pupils to return to the classroom, and for our town centres to thrive.  We can achieve this by following the advice around staying at home, getting tested if you have symptoms, and making social distancing and regular handwashing part of our everyday lives.  Not only will this protect you, but also those around you.  Together we can make a difference, but everyone needs to play their part.”

There are many steps you can take to help to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately protect yourself and others around you:

  • If you have any symptoms – high temperature, new or persistent cough, loss of taste or smell – you should immediately self-isolate along with your household. Then get tested.  You can arrange a test through nhs.uk or by ringing 119.
  • If you test positive, self-isolate and share the details of any people who you have been in close contact with (within 2 metres for 15 minutes or more) with the NHS Track and Trace Team. You will need to self-isolate for 10 days after the onset of symptoms, and any member of your household needs to self-isolate for 14 days to help to stop the spread of the virus (unknowingly).
  • Maintain regular handwashing and continue to wipe down surfaces commonly used surfaces (such as door handles, light switches and remote controls) with an antibacterial wipe.
  • Limit your interactions with others and, if you can work from home, you should.
  • Maintain social distancing of 2m or more wherever possible.
  • If you do go out and are using public transport or visiting a hospital setting, ensure that you wear a face covering. Consider also wearing one in other indoor public settings.
  • Remember to carry a tissue to “catch it, bin it, kill it” for coughs and sneezes.