Coronavirus Local Outbreak Plan
Why do we need a Local Outbreak Plan for Buckinghamshire?
We want to keep our residents as safe as we can from coronavirus.
The initial phase of coronavirus was countrywide. As national restrictions are lifted, local outbreaks are likely which will need local action to prevent spread of the virus.
By building on the local knowledge and partnerships we already have, our local plan will add to the national programmes.
What our plan covers
Our Health Protection Board - This will take the necessary action to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks. On the Board we have members from Buckinghamshire Council, Public Health England and the NHS.
Put in place focussed outbreak plans - there will be specific plans to prevent and contain outbreaks in a wide range of settings including nurseries, schools, care homes, colleges, universities, hospices, workplaces and public transport.
Vulnerable people - to engage with groups vulnerable to coronavirus about how to take appropriate prevention measures.
Local testing capacity - to ensure co-ordination of local testing capacity so as many residents as needed can get tested.
Contact tracing in complex settings - Public Health England supported by the council will deliver contact tracing in places like care homes.
Data - so we share and use personal information well and legally to help control outbreaks and monitor the spread of infections in our communities.
Workforce - we will keep our Buckinghamshire Council workforce safe so services such as bin collection, street cleaning, road repairs, social care and schools can still run.
Communication & engagement - we will do everything we can to communicate with the public so they can stay safe and know what to do to protect themselves from coronavirus and what local measures we need to put in place to achieve this.
How will the Council know what the levels of coronavirus are in Buckinghamshire and spot outbreaks?
- working closely with Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre we will watch data on cases and risks closely, so we spot rising levels of infection and outbreaks early.
- we will investigate outbreaks immediately with Public Health England and put in place the necessary measures including contacting people who may have been infected, organising testing (including through the NHS Test and Trace) and putting in place the necessary measures to control the outbreak.
What will the Council do if there is an outbreak of coronavirus in Buckinghamshire?
- we will continue to support our residents to stay safe, encourage hand washing, social distancing and isolation and assist those who need help.
- we will act swiftly to put local actions in place to control the spread of coronavirus.
- we will communicate with local people and organisations to help them keep safe.
- we will use a range of methods to support vulnerable people who need to self-isolate:
- the Council’s customer service centre helpline for residents who need to self-isolate and are struggling.
- the Council’s Local Support Hubs / Customer Service Centre making follow up calls to those residents to check in and ensure they have food and medicine and that they are ok. Referrals can be made to further help groups if it is felt that is needed.
- the prevention services commissioned by the Council’s Adult Social Care team taking referrals for residents who need more specialist befriending services for those people that are very isolated.
- we will support care homes by:
- working with individual care homes on what they need. This will be a mix of virtual consultations and tailor-made support with training, it could include bringing in a team who could provide direct care for a short amount of time.
- we will support schools and other educational locations by:
- continuing to help them adapt their working practices to the national guidance on social distancing and cleaning.
- distributing PPE to schools so that safe practices can be maintained.
- providing evidence based guidelines about who to contact and what to do in a suspected outbreak.
- we will support residents from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities by:
- developing culturally appropriate communications and engagement with our communities about what they can do to protect themselves from coronavirus, the symptoms they need to look out for and where to get help if they believe they or someone they know may have coronavirus infection.
- targeting programmes to reduce the risk from health conditions associated with poorer outcomes from coronavirus.
- offering culturally competent risk assessments for BAME staff in frontline health and care settings.
- we will support other workplaces such as:
- council owned premises – offices, depots, libraries, leisure centres and day centres
- leisure and hospitality
- engineering and manufacturing
- outdoor event venues
- critical infrastructure sites
- we will support faith settings (churches, mosques, chapels, temples etc.) by:
- having a robust communications plan to work with the faith sector as places of worship are reopened for group services.
- supporting the faith sector when an outbreak in a place of worship has been identified and control measures need to be implemented.
- we will support the homeless community by:
- introducing weekly surveillance of the coronavirus status of people placed in emergency accommodation and the results shared with the public health team to enable early identification of issues.
- providing a rapid response from our housing team to support homeless populations to access testing, advice and support.
How will residents know if there is an outbreak of coronavirus in Buckinghamshire?
- we will let you know if we have reason to believe you are personally affected by the outbreak e.g. ensuring that parents of any schools that have an outbreak are informed.
- we will publicise any outbreaks affecting public settings.
- you will be contacted through the NHS Test and Trace programme if they believe you may have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
How does the NHS Test and Trace / Contract tracing work?
- if you have symptoms, stay home and contact NHS Test & Trace. Or call 119 if you have no internet access.
- when a person tests positive for coronavirus, they are asked to provide details to gather details of places they have visited, and people they have been in contact with. Those who they have been in contact with are risk assessed according to the type and length of that contact.
- those who are classed as ‘close contacts’ are contacted and provided with advice on what they should do e.g. stay safe and stop the spread to others by staying at home and self-isolating for 14 days, observing good hygiene and washing their hands – full guidance can be found on gov.uk: coronavirus.
What should you do if you are worried about an outbreak of coronavirus in Buckinghamshire?
- if you have been contacted because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been identified as a contact of a person with coronavirus you will be advised about what to do and how long to self-isolate for and what to look out for by the contact tracing service or the Public Health England team.
- if you think there are cases in your workplace, school or other setting you should discuss this with your manager. Public Health England can advise workplaces on action to take if there are confirmed cases, and their contact information can be found on gov.uk: PHE South East advice, support and services.
If you wish to find out general government information about coronavirus then please visit gov.uk: coronavirus.