Calderdale Council – Latest COVID-19 Response Update

Coronavirus cases in Calderdale

The 7-day rolling average rate of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 continues to rise and according to the latest data is 44.7. The blue line on the chart below shows how the rate has increased since lockdown restrictions were eased in June. The red line shows the number of Calderdale residents tested over the same time period. This shows a rapid increase in testing in the last few weeks.

Data on Calderdale residents referred to the national test and trace programme, indicates that the rate will continue to rise in the coming days.

The Government is now publishing data on the number of cases in each Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA). A map and the data can be found here https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/cases.

The number of people who have tested positive in the previous week in each MSOA is published every week. To preserve confidentiality and ensure that people with the virus cannot be identified, data is not shown where there have been fewer than 3 cases.

MSOAs were developed by the Office of National Statistics for the 2001 census and they are one of the building blocks used by Government agencies for local data. Calderdale Council website explains more about the MSOAs in the borough here https://dataworks.calderdale.gov.uk/dataset/calderdale-msoa-demographic-profiles

This data shows that in the last week, MSOAs in West Halifax had the highest numbers of cases.

Action to reduce the infection rate

Testing

We continue to work with our NHS, DHCS and commercial sector partners to increase testing for Calderdale residents. We have mobile testing sites visiting Todmorden, Mixenden and Illingworth. We are working on a national pilot site based in the overflow car park at Asda Thrum Hill and hope that will be operational in the next week, subject to a site visit by the National Team on Friday 7th August. In the meantime, we have a mobile testing station based there, which has been testing very large numbers of people. We are working with DHSC to develop asymptomatic testing of people in high risk occupations from the NHS run site at King Cross Fire Station.

Local Contact Tracing

Being an area with local restrictions has provided an opportunity to develop a local contact tracing which will work hand in hand with the national Test and Trace service. The national service is not contacting around a third of the Calderdale residents that have been in close contact with people with the virus. A local contact tracing service will enable us to draw on our unique knowledge of our local communities to reach some of those that the national service cannot. It will also enable us to follow up people that are self-isolating for 14 days to make sure they have the support they need. This approach has contributed to partners successfully reducing transmission rates in other parts of the country. An important element of the Calderdale programme will be wrong with local voluntary and community groups who are trusted by the local community.

We are working closely with PHE and DHSC to co-produce our local solution, and we are aiming to establish the programme next week. This will offer support in some of the 67 different languages spoken in Halifax, as well as offering individual response aiming to get the information we need that is not flowing to us from the national contact centre. We will continue to work closely with PHE on complex cases, where the specialist teams working locally are securing effective follow up in over 97% of cases.

Messages

Our engagement with local communities has highlighted that some residents of the borough are unaware how high the infection rate in Calderdale is and how serious this could be for the freedoms we all worked so hard to achieve during the lockdown. The Leader of the Council and the Director of Public Health have written to every resident to inform them about the present situation and ask for their help to bring the infection rate down.

These same messages will be displayed on billboards, bus shelters, screens and shared on radio. Today, we also launched our cycling to tackle Covid-19 programme using an advertising bikes and local cyclists to get the messages into communities in our public places, parks and meeting places over the warm weekend to promote awareness and cycling.

Work with West Yorkshire Partners

We know the virus does not respect boundaries and we continue to work across West Yorkshire through the Local Resilience Forum. Collaboration, learning from each other and sharing resources are all important if we are going to tackle the virus effectively. The Directors of Public Health have developed a Covid-19 Strategy which sets out the collaborative action to be taken to enhance the work we are doing locally. This includes promoting consistent messages through sub-regional media, engaging with young people working with universities and colleges and a co-ordinated approach to enforcement activity. These objectives have been reflected in the LRF’s revised strategy.

Adult Social Care Update

Adult Social Care staff continue to carry out regular welfare checks on existing service users and continue to contact all care providers on a daily basis but are now planning for the next phase Reset and Recovery as the need for daily contact reduces.

Care Homes – Residents

There has been a continued rise in the number of new cases of residents who are Covid-19 positive or symptomatic over the last week. There are 11 confirmed cases identified as a result of full testing across all care homes. 2 care homes are now closed to new admissions.

There have been no further Covid related deaths of residents in Calderdale care homes within the last week, with the total remaining at 53.

Care Homes – Staff

The number of staff who are currently positive or symptomatic has reduced significantly from 14 staff members positive last week, to 8 currently positive and 1 symptomatic this week, out of a total care home workforce of over 1,700.

Community Based Care

There continues to be a relatively low number of service users receiving care at home either symptomatic or positive. However, there has been a further rise in the number of service users symptomatic or positive, with 7 currently positive (increase of 2), but the number of symptomatic has reduced from 6 last week to 5 currently. In relation to staff, there has been a reduction in the number symptomatic or confirmed positive, down to 10, compared to 18 last week.

Covid-19 Testing

In Calderdale local whole care home testing co-ordinated by Calderdale CCG and undertaken by Locala, complements the national testing programme, has continued to be rolled out, and is now extended to all care homes. High volumes of testing continue and to date 3,293 staff tests have now been completed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

We are continuing to provide care providers with PPE via a local collection and distribution process which means that all local care providers have sufficient equipment. We delivered an additional 91,890 items of equipment this week and we have now cumulatively distributed 1,747,579 pieces of equipment locally.

Social Care Hub

The Social Care Hub continues to receive new referrals though at a much lower rate after peaking in April. The hub is now averaging 5 new referrals per day, and 1,609 referrals have been received since the hub was established on 31st March.

Shielding Update

Changes in the Shielding Advisory

The overall Government advice to shield is now paused. People who are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are now advised to follow the same measures as people who are Clinically Vulnerable.

From 1st August, the Government food box offer to people who are shielding has ceased, as has the delivery of prescription medicines.

Our local advice to those who are no longer required to shield is that they should continue to be careful, and minimise contact with those outside of their household or bubble and to follow all other guidance.

Future Support Offer

The Government have awarded the Council £272,000 to provide emergency food and other essentials to those most in need.

Those who were in receipt of social care support prior to Covid-19 and the small number that were identified as requiring additional support during Covid-19 will continue to receive this.

Our approach to supporting our residents has been consistent and will continue now that shielding is paused, referrals can continue to be made online and via telephone and will be triaged via the mainstream Gateway to Care Service. Any requests for low level support such as picking up shopping and walking the dog will be referred to volunteers via the volunteer hubs. Discussions are taking place to agree resources needed to transfer management of these virtual hubs to the voluntary sector over the coming months.

For those who are unable to afford to purchase their food, we will work with food banks and community groups to support them. We are working with colleagues in Public Health to support food banks with healthier food options, within the constraints that they work within.

Future Shielding

Government are working with Local Authorities to agree a Framework for a Local Food Supply Offer. This will mean that should there be a future shielding requirement that the Local Authority will ensure that those who are shielding have access to food and support. The Treasury are currently considering what funding may be available to support local authorities.

Enforcement

Following the national lockdown, which impacted a number of businesses and licensed premises, the Community Protection Team (Community Safety & Resilience, Licensing, Environmental Health) and West Yorkshire Police utilised local intelligence to identify premises that were still operating. In the period of March to July 2020, 15 premises were issued with a closure notice.

Saturday 4th July, ‘Super Saturday’, saw licenced premises re-open with guidance on how they should operate. We have managed this through partnership (council

and police) patrols across the borough where officers have undertaken 98 checks (up to 02/08/2020) on licenced premises to ensure they are operating within the current guidelines.

Where premises are not adhering to the guidance responsibility sits with the Licensing Authority who then issue a Stage 1 Letter. Stage 1 letters act as a reminder of the responsibilities under the licensing act and of the requirements through response to the pandemic. To date we have issued 20 Stage 1 Letters

These Stage 1 letters are followed up by further checks to ensure premises adjust their working practices. If there is then further non-compliance, increasing checks will occur. This would finally result in action being considered under our new powers under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations. We are actively addressing these issues with some premises over the weekend.

In addition to the formal action taken against premises, the Community Safety Wardens have also issued a total of 418 warnings and 59 FPNs have been issued to individuals between March and July 2020 (NB some of these are not COVID19 related)

Business Update

We have now made a total of 415 payments in relation to our Retail, Hospitality & Leisure scheme at £25,000 each, totalling £10,375,000. We have also made 4,765 payments at £10,000 each, totalling £47,650,000 in relation to our Small Business & Rural Relief scheme. The overall total is therefore £58,025,000.

In terms of this week, we have paid 9 Small Business & Rural Relief grants at £10,000 each totalling £90,000, and a further 2 payments in relation to our Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme totalling £50,000.

In total, we have paid a further 62 grants in relation to our Discretionary Top Up scheme totalling £345,000. These grants are either £2,500, £5,000 or £10,000 each. No further payments have been made this week.

Impact assessment

The Council has drafted an impact assessment that aims to capture data on how Covid-19 has impacted the Borough. This will of course change as we find out more about the impact of Covid-19, and more Calderdale specific data becomes available. The combination of various data sources and background context will produce a full insight into the issues and opportunities Calderdale can seize to build back better. The key themes of the assessment are Health & Wellbeing, Business & Economy, Community Resilience, and Environment & Infrastructure.

The intention is to publish the initial document on the 2nd September and this will be used as an evidence base, alongside engagement work with our diverse communities through Calderdale Conversations. This will provide a holistic oversight of the impact of COVID-19 in Calderdale an inform the development and delivery of our Inclusive Recovery Plan.

National guidance update

From this Saturday 8th August, it will be mandatory to wear face coverings in the additional settings listed below. You can find a link to the full guidance on face coverings here  funeral directors  premises providing professional, legal or financial services  cinemas  theatres  bingo halls  concert halls  museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites.  nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers – other than where necessary to remove for treatments  massage centres  public areas in hotels and hostels  place of worship  libraries and public reading rooms  community centres  social clubs  tattoo and piercing parlours  indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)  storage and distribution facilities  veterinary services.  auction houses