[To consider the contents of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board draft Minutes from the meeting of 29 September 2020 and 12 November 2020 ].
[The Local Outbreak Engagement Board draft Minutes from the meeting of 12 November 2020 are marked – To Follow].
The Scrutiny Officer reported that the minutes from the September meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board had been circulated with the agenda. The minutes from the 12 November 2020, Local Outbreak Engagement Board had unfortunately not been approved in time for the meeting. Members of the Panel had however been sent a link to the recording of the November meeting.
The Chairman referred to the Communications Toolkit to Councillors and Community Champions recently mentioned at the Local Outbreak Engagement Board meetings. He asked for some more information on the initiative and asked who the Community Champions were. The Development Manager gave some context to the Local Outbreak Engagement Board. The Government had required the establishment of Local Outbreak Engagement Boards as part of the Local Outbreak Plan development work. Wolverhampton’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board was Chaired by the Leader of the Council and was a Sub-Board of the Health and Wellbeing Together Board. The public meetings were currently taking place every two months, with the option for additional meetings as appropriate. The meetings were live streamed. The purpose of the Board was to have oversight of plans and actions to prevent and manage Covid-19 outbreaks in the City, as well as providing leadership around communications and public engagement.
The Development Manager commented that three Councillors had put themselves forward as Champions. These were Cllr Rupinderjit Kaur, Cllr Zee Russell and Cllr Simon Bennett. They had been working with these Councillors on what resources they felt would be beneficial to Councillors. In development was a key numbers / key messaging document which would be able to be shared with colleagues. They were also looking at the role of social media and how Councillors could create videos to spread the key messages wide in the community. They were also looking at how they could work with the community and voluntary groups. They had been working in partnership with the Learning Communities Partnership which had a wide membership. The Learning Communities Partnership had established a Task and Finish group which were considering which resources would be beneficial to the community. The toolkit was an ongoing process, messages changed and so a clear network which was dynamic was important.
A Member of the Panel commented that in his view he thought key messages needed to be delivered from one body rather than multiple champions. He suggested the Cabinet Member or Director needed to take the lead in relaying messages rather than individuals as he was concerned the messages could be diluted and cause confusion.
The Chair asked the following question, “A recent BBC Article - identified that people with learning disabilities were up to six times more likely to die from Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. A report from Public Health England found the death rate for those with a learning disability was 30 times higher in the 18-34 age group. What action is Wolverhampton taking as a health and care system to help safeguard this vulnerable group within the City and will the Local Outbreak Engagement Board be able to have some oversight of this moving forward within Wolverhampton?”
The Director for Public Health responded that they looked at any vulnerable group within the City and protecting them was at the core of what they did in Public Health. The BBC Article had referred to people with learning disabilities being up to six times more likely to die from Covid-19, he thought it important to address the difference between absolute and relative. It was an issue, but the strategy had targeted the vulnerable groups and used key networks to relay messages. They could monitor the situation as requested by bringing it through the Local Outbreak Engagement Board. Evidence focussed on the most at risk was the key point. Keeping vulnerable groups safe until the vaccine had been rolled out and cases had declined was critical.
The Vice-Chair asked if there was any data on people who were aged over 65, obese and possibly had a learning disability. The Director for Public Health responded that there was a range of data. Working with partners, the various intelligence teams had access to a tapestry of information, which allowed the targeting of particular groups. He could provide a detailed analysis from an epidemiological point of view in the future.
The Vice-Chair asked at what point did a Care Home become closed to new admissions due to a Covid-19 incident. The Head of Adult Improvement gave a summary of the latest Covid-19 testing taking place in Care Homes. If a Care Home had one positive case, it was placed onto a Watch List and the Infection Prevention Team were sent into the Care Home to complete an audit. They were particularly focussing on clusters to see if there was any transmission between staff and residents. If there were two or more cases the Care Home was closed for a period of up to 28 days. They were however looking at each Care Home on a case by case basis and acting based on the circumstances.
The Vice-Chair asked for the detail of any plans for the rollout of any Covid-19 vaccine within the City. The Director for Public Health responded that the CCG were leading on the vaccine rollout with the help of Public Health. It would likely be a mixed model with larger sites complimented by GP surgeries. He would happily provide an update at the next meeting.
The Managing Director of Wolverhampton CCG stated that the CCG were working with Primary Care Colleagues to identify sites where they would be able to deliver the vaccine when it was ready. The National Joint Vaccine Committee had identified the priority groups that would receive the vaccine. They had not received confirmation of the timing of when a vaccine would be available, but they were making preparations in readiness for when it could be delivered.
A Member of the Panel referred to one of the vaccines having to be kept at minus 70 degrees centigrade. He asked if all sites would have the appropriate storage. The Managing Director of the CCG commented that whilst one of the vaccines did have to be kept at a very low temperature, once the vaccine had been delivered to the administering site there were a number of days when it needed to be used by, if it was not at minus 70. Therefore, all the administering sites did not require the special freezers, as long as the vaccine was administered within a set timeframe.
The Scrutiny Officer commented that the Vice-Chair would be visiting the first lateral flow testing site in the City the following day and had offered to report back to the Health Scrutiny Panel at the next meeting if requested.