Local plans made to keep coronavirus under control

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Coronavirus
Hampshire County Council has been given £4.8m from the £300m government pot

LOCAL plans have been created to keep coronavirus under control, help agencies to work together, protect vulnerable people and maintain testing and tracing.

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The documents have been drawn up by Hampshire County Council and BCP Council under orders from the government backed by millions of pounds of funding.

HCC’s Covid-19 Incident and Outbreak Control Plan reveals a new board has been set up to oversee its approach and ensure testing is available to all.

Leader Cllr Keith Mans said: “The key to success lies with us all.”

HCC is being handed £4.8m out of £300m given to councils across the UK. Its plan stresses a range of organisations across local and national government, the NHS, Public Health England, businesses and employers and community partners must work together.

The plan says it will prioritise monitoring the infection threat at care homes and schools and high risk places such as airports, transport hubs and sheltered housing and hospitals. Vulnerable groups that may need extra help have already been identified, it said.

HCC has set up the Hampshire Local Outbreak Engagement Board to report to the ruling Tory cabinet. The board will ensure testing is accessible and make decisions over how tests will be delivered and when to introduce local pop-up testing units at “high-risk” locations such as factories.

It will also review recommendations made by Simon Bryant, Hampshire’s director of public health, as to how the recovery is progressing, monitor the R-rate and oversee engagement with the public in relation to local outbreaks.

Mr Bryant said the plan built on an “extensive learning gained over the past few months”, adding: “As we move forward, we will continue to review and evolve our approach to ensure systems are in place to identify and suppress possible outbreaks before they gain momentum.

“If we are to avoid a damaging second wave of infections, it is important for everyone to continue to follow national advice: stay two metres apart, or one metre-plus if two is not possible, wear face coverings where advised to do so, and wash hands – frequently.”

BCP Council’s plan was considered at the meeting of the health and wellbeing board, which is headed-up by authority leader Cllr Vikki Slade and includes emergency services and NHS representatives.

Its introduction, written by Cllr Slade, said the “key” consideration was how communication with residents and businesses would be managed if the rate of infection in the conurbation increases.

The board also agreed to form a sub-group, made up of Cllr Slade, Public Health Dorset director Sam Crowe, council chief executive Graham Farrant and a representative of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group to be called together should an outbreak occur.

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