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Covid-19: Cornwall publishes Local Outbreak Management Plan

Covid-19: Cornwall publishes Local Outbreak Management Plan

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:00am 6th July 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A document designed to set out how local outbreaks of coronavirus in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be managed has been published.

The 41-page Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP) sets out how different organisations and agencies will work together if there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

It details how council and health partners are already using data provided by Public Health England to monitor what is happening and how a series of boards have been established to bring together all those who would be required to be involved should an outbreak occur.

But while the document sets out clearly how an outbreak will be identified and who will meet to decide what approach will be taken there is no real information about what practical steps would be taken.

Julian German, Cornwall Council leader and chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, has called on the Government to provide clarity about what powers will be available should an outbreak occur.

“This plan details our response to any future coronavirus outbreaks and how we will work with our partners to prevent it spreading. I thank all those involved in helping put it together.

“But we still need clarity from government about what powers Cornwall Council will have to enforce any regional or localised lockdown, which would have a serious impact on our communities, businesses, and the livelihoods of residents in affected areas.

“Where is that guidance? We are yet to see it, and this continuing confusion risks undermining the hard work we and other local authorities have done to keep our residents safe and limit the impact of Covid-19.”

Julian German, Leader of Cornwall Council

coronavirus LDRS

“It is a blueprint on how we deal with outbreaks if they occur in our population.

“It could be a location where there are more cases then you would expect it in a particular setting like a school or business.

“Public health are used to dealing with outbreaks of disease like measles, mumps and rubella so we know what to do in these situations.

“The plan sets out how in Cornwall we will deal with this.”

Dr Ruth Goldstein, public health consultant at Cornwall Council

She added: “It is a first draft and a working document. Hopefully it will give public confidence that we have a plan in place if necessary.”

face mask coronavirus

Cornwall Council has provided a FAQ with the LOMP, here are some of the questions it answers:

How will the LOMP help contain an outbreak?

Regular testing data will provide details of potential outbreaks which will be combined with local intelligence – from doctors, test centres and hospitals – which help the council to monitor cases. The LOMP will see an “integrated data and surveillance system” being established to help with this.

Public health officials at the council already have experience of managing other infectious disease and this, combined with the current data, will help them to “develop effective responses to avoid potential outbreaks”.

The council says: ”In the event an outbreak is detected we will take early intervention measures to stop the spread before it escalates further into the community. The plan sets out a ‘toolkit’ of infection control measures from advising on hygieve practices to isolation of people and premises, right through to localised lockdown (in conjunction with Public Health England) depending on the severity of the outbreak.”

Public Health England (PHE) has also provided guidance for individual settings such as work places, schools and care homes – this sets out how and who should be contacted if there is a suspected Covid-19 outbreak. It also provides preventative guidance for particular settings.

What happens if there is an outbreak in the community?

The council says: “The precise action taken will depend upon how complex the outbreak is. Our first priority is to protect our residents. As soon as an outbreak is detected an Outbreak Assessment Group comes together to identify, and agree on, early intervention measures to be taken to stop the spread before it escalates further into the community.

“The plan will be implemented by incident response teams that will work with specific settings and locations and sets out a toolkit of infection control measures including advising on hygiene practices, implementing public health measures, providing focused testing right through to localised lockdown. The action that is taken will depend on the severity of the outbreak and the most appropriate measures.”

coronavirus ppe

What happens if I am ill or someone staying with me is ill?

If you think that you or someone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms you must stay at home and self-isolate. Those with symptoms should be tested.

Tests can be booked by going to www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or calling 119. If the test is positive the person should self-isolate. If the person is staying with you they may have to do this at your home or they may need to be back at their own home close to their own medical support.

Why does the LOMP not set out what specific action will be taken in the case of an outbreak?

The council says: “The LOMP sets out a rapid response cascade for all potential local outbreaks. Specific actions will be unique to each case and therefore the plan focuses on providing consistency of response while offering flexibility in the exact actions implemented.”

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