Staff briefing roundup

Here’s a summary of what was covered in today’s staff briefing…

General update – Peter Wightman

  • National alert remains at level 3 which means COVID-19 is in general circulation in the community
  • The ‘R’ rate in the East of England is between 0.8 – 1.1, which is slightly lower than the UK which is 0.9 – 1.1
  • The number of cases detected by testing has risen in the last two weeks with 2,948 in the UK on 7 September
  • The seven-day average is 1,731 on 3 September, which is up from 1,119 two weeks earlier
  • The number of patients in hospital has increased to 537 in England on 5 September, with daily deaths at 3 on 7 September
  • North of England and Midlands and the 20-29 age group have the highest concentrations of positive rates due to swab testing.

Local cases

  • All districts in Essex have had positive cases in the last 14 days
  • Greater Essex has had increased rates over the last 14 days with a 7 day average of 21, up from 13
  • Epping Forest has reported the highest number of positive cases at 45
  • Harlow has had 6 positive tests and Uttlesford, 22. In Essex the total number of positive tests is 297.
  • PAH has not reported anything about spikes in cases – there is likely to be a delay between what we are hearing in the news today and what’s currently going on
  • 111 stats – isn’t showing anything dramatic just yet
  • We are in a high state of observation
  • Extended access – primary care networks (PCNs) commission Herts Urgent Care (HUC)to provide extended hours service
  • From April 2021 PCNs will take over extended access
  • HUC is offering home visits as part of extended access package
  • Four PCNs want HUC to continue and two PCNs want the primary care networks to take over
  • One Health and Care Partnership (One HCP)
    • Meeting took place on Monday, there has been good progress
    • Discussing lots of strategies and how we want to bring into one Essex story to communicate to the public
    • Board GPs – we need a PCN view on lots of the issues raised – looking at the different roles and how we bring GPs on how we do business
  • We continue to attend joint Executive team meetings with Hertfordshire colleagues
  • We are still in the early stages around direction of staff issues – we want there to be minimum disruption

Local update – Ian Tompkins

  • Pillar Two testing (home delivery and mobile testing) – there has been a national issue around the labs’ capacity to process the test. Where initially the Government was looking at achieving 100,000 tests per day, this has been far exceeded and at the moment it is heading towards 500,000 tests a day nationally
  • For those trying to get this type of testing done but struggling to make an appointment, the general advice is to keep trying – we would suggest booking early evening
  • If there are any urgent cases, please email the COVID inbox
  • Flu and COVID – we are organising a flu vaccination for traditional cohort launching in November (over 65s, pregnant, those who have long-term medical conditions)
  • From the traditional cohort we aim to test at least 75% of those people
  • We are working with voluntary organisations to reach out to this cohort
  • Widening out to over 50s and new eligible groups e.g Year 7 school children subject to availability
  • Intention to open mass flu vaccination sites – waiting on the specification around this
  • Potential COVID vaccination – ramping up preparation for this
  • Rolling out repeat risk assessments from next week for office and home working
  • Once staff are able to return to the offices, there will still be a mixture of home and office working at a limited capacity going forward
  • Blinds have been removed as part of infection control and been replaced with thermal anti-glare film over the windows. This will help control the temperature in the buildings. It is also reflective from the outside, so you will only be able to see yourself
  • Looking into a keypad entry system for the building
  • If you are coming into the building, we ask that you do not hot desk, please stick to your own desk
  • We are having the buildings signed off by the IPC colleagues following the deep clean and hope to begin inviting staff back into the offices later this month.

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