City of York Council

Committee Minutes


City of York Outbreak Management Advisory Board


10 February 2021


Councillors Aspden (Chair), Runciman (Vice-Chair) and D Myers

Ian Floyd - Chief Operating Officer, CYC

Sharon Stoltz - Director of Public Health, CYC

Amanda Hatton - Corporate Director of People, CYC

Siân Balsom – Manager, Healthwatch York

Marc Bichtemann - Managing Director, First York

Lucy Brown - Director of Communications, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Charlie Jeffery - Vice Chancellor and President, University of York

Julia Mulligan - North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Mike Padgham - Independent Care Group

Lisa Winward - Chief Constable, North Yorkshire Police








In Attendance

James Farrar - Local Enterprise Partnership

Phil Mettam - Track and Trace Lead for Humber, Coast and Vale - NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group

Alison Semmence - Chief Executive, York CVS


Simon Brereton – Head of Economic Growth, CYC

Claire Foale - Head of Communications, Customer Services and Digital, CYC

Fiona Phillips – Assistant Director of Public Health, CYC



99.        Declarations of Interest


Board Members had no interests to declare.






100.    Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 January 2021


There were no matters arising from the previous minutes. The Board signed off the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting held on 13 January 2021. The Chair confirmed that all actions on the action log had been completed.




101.    Current Situation in York


Fiona Phillips, Assistant Director of Public Health at City of York Council, gave a brief update on the rate of local cases.  Fiona reported that the validated rate stood at 144.3 per 100,000 people which meant York had dropped below the regional and national averages.


Fiona explained that the weekly peaks seen in the data after the Christmas holidays had been attributed to the 10 day incubation period.  Even though peaks in the data had continued to be seen on the weekends, it was still following a downward trajectory.  The number of daily cases reported from York had reduced to 40.


Fiona informed the group that the rates hadn’t fallen to the level of the previous year due to the new variant of the virus.  Fiona reported that from 1-7 February, data showed that 85% of cases in York were the new variant.  Data from the rest of the country also showed that the new strain was the most dominant virus.  She suggested communications should be focused on the 30-59 age groups as the highest rates of transmission were being seen in these cohorts. 


The Board noted the update and presentation.




102.    Update on the Covid-19 Vaccination


Stephanie Porter, Director of Primary Care at the NHS Vale of York CCG gave an update on the vaccination regime that has been delivered in York.  Stephanie reported that cohorts 1-2 had almost been completed.  She expected to hit the deadline, as the vaccination clinics were fully booked for the coming week.  The plan was expected to continue accordingly to the next cohort. Stephanie reported that they were returning to care homes where the vaccination programme had been paused due to outbreaks.


Stephanie reported that 300,000-350,000 residents had been vaccinated in the Humber Coast and Vale footprint.  She informed the group that the Askham Bar site was run by the national booking system which sat alongside York’s local service.  It was quite likely that residents would get an invite from the national service and by their local GPs due to York having both locally and nationally run sites.  Stephanie informed the group that residents in cohorts 1-4 would start to be contacted soon.


Fiona Phillips asked whether there were any plans being developed for people who did not have physical access to the sites.  Stephanie assured the Board that satellite sites operated in areas on the perimeter of York’s boundaries in communities like Clifton and Stamford Bridge.  She also reported that there was a free transport service that went to the Askham Bar site.  Sian asked whether there would be sustainable transport systems established for the sites.


Action 018: Stephanie Porter agreed to ensure that sustainable transport options be included in the communications around the vaccination sites.


The Board noted the update.




103.    Presentation: Test and Trace


Fiona Phillips gave a presentation on the test and trace service. Lateral flow testing had continued to be delivered from 14 December 2020.  Fiona updated the group on the frequency of which the testing sites had been operating to. She added that from 22 January 2021, the complementary PCR test would no longer be offered to an individual who tested positive with a lateral flow test. The individual would instead be asked to isolate from the point they took the test.


Businesses had been encouraged to send their staff for testing at the stadium site.  Fiona also reported that both the Acorn Rugby Club and Ethel Ward playing field mobile testing unit (MTU) would both be extended.  The MTU at the Ethel Ward playing field was initially only planned for a week but would continue its presence on two days per week.  Rates across the city would continue to be monitored to ensure everyone had the correct provision.


Fiona explained that surge testing was done to understand whether the new variant had spread to other parts of the country. Our local team would continue to work with the national tem to offer testing in certain areas of the city.  A public awareness campaign around surge testing was also being developed to be ready for when it needed to be circulated.


Fiona informed the group that York had expressed an interest in doing all contact tracing locally.  The contact tracing would also be enhanced as the service would ask for more detail around where the case had been prior to testing positive.  They would then follow up with other people who attended the venue.  As York was following up with 90% of all cases received, it seemed appropriate to extend the service.  Fiona informed the group of the plans to work with the police in terms of home visits.  Other means to follow up on cases were also being explored.


Councillor Runciman agreed that York should provide an enhanced contact tracing service as the data showed how well we had done locally. Cases were being contacted more quickly on a more local level.  Cllr Runciman stated that a submission of interest to the government would be appropriate.


Lisa Winward, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, stated that when colleagues had attended the addresses of cases to ensure they were self-isolating, they found that the vast majority were following the guidance.  As most people did not answer cold calls, Lisa asked whether any more communications would be developed to inform people of the local contact tracing number.


Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health for the City of York, stated that she had wanted to provide an enhanced contact tracing service for some time now and had been lobbying for York to be one of the chosen pilots.  Additional funding would be provided if we were chosen to do this locally.  The Board agreed with Sharon’s suggestion.


Action 019: Sharon/Fiona agreed to write a letter on behalf of the Board to ask for York to be one of the chosen enhanced contact tracing pilots.


The Board noted the update.




104.    Presentation: Impact of the Lockdown on the Economy


Simon Brereton gave a presentation on the impact of lockdown on the economy.  Simon expected the economy to take two or more years to recover.  He reported that footfall had reduced to below a third from the position during lockdown one.  This had had an effect on the income into the city as York was 40% down from a normal December.  Most businesses had highlighted that Spring was going to be difficult.

The Board discussed mental health and the stresses on both employers and employees.  The government loans were due soon and a lot of businesses were not sure how they would pay them back as they were well into their reserve funds.  Simon expressed concern around this as most businesses were expected to re-open in May.  Plans had started to be developed for the re-opening, but it was difficult without the confirmation of dates.  Simon reported that he was working with the Tourist Advisory Board on how to keep York in people’s minds when the economy reopened.


Councillor Runciman expressed interest that businesses had mental health at the top of their concerns for both employees and employers.  The Chair asked for a specific agenda item around mental health.  Carol agreed that mental health should be at the top of the list of priorities, as the Health and Wellbeing Board had identified it as their main priority too.  Mental health problems were reported from all across the community with a varied demographic.


The Board were interested in adding an agenda item around mental health and wanted to look at polling data and experience to create a joined up approach.  Sharon Stoltz agreed to discuss this with the Independent Chair of the Mental Health Partnership and with Phil Mettam to look at how best to work in collaboration.


Action 020: To update the Board on the way forward for a collaborative approach to mental health.


The Board noted the presentation.


[Note: the presentation slides are attached as an annex to these minutes].




105.    Communications and Engagement Update


Claire Foale, Head of Communications at City of York Council, gave a presentation on the continued messages and engagement carried out by the Council.  The four key messages; hands, space, face and testing had been reinforced at every opportunity.


In total 24 press releases had been issued this month and some had been focused around how the council managed to communicate a covid-safe flood response. Claire informed the group that residents had also been engaged through the newsletter, which increased its audience by 44% last month.


Claire also informed the Board of the My Covid Story case studies that had been used to share different people’s covid experiences. The case studies would continue to be shared throughout the pandemic.  The next case study to be developed would be around the St Leonards Hospice and another would focus on mask usage.


Claire reported on working with behavioural insight specialists to help with plans to get people back into the city.  This would be shared with various other agencies to ensure the city’s response as a whole was acceptable.


Action 021: Claire agreed to bring back the proposal from the behavioural insight specialists to a future meeting.


The Board noted the update.




106.    Update from Sub-Group: Universities and Higher Education           Establishments


Professor Charlie Jeffery, the Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Yorkinformed the group that lockdown was having its desired effect with both universities only reporting 25 active cases.  Charlie noted that the lateral flow testing provision was a significant part of their tool kit in controlling their cases.  The Department of Education support was due to end in March but this was expected to be extended.  More would be understood once the road map had been released by the national government on 22 February 2021. 


Charlie reported that there was a possibility that in-person teaching could restart beyond the small amount of courses that were running now.  However he expected that there would not be much change until after Easter. The main return of students was planned for after the Easter holidays.  Charlie added that remote teaching would continue for most students in both schools and colleges.


Charlie reported that the student hardship funding had to be increased due to part-time work not being available.  The national government had gradually offered more support but it was not yet enough.  Students had also been provided with mental health support and had been connected with the NHS provision where necessary.


Action 022: Tracy Wallis agreed to discuss students’ mental health support with Tim Madgwick, the Independent Chair of the Mental Health Partnership.

The Board noted the update.




107.    Verbal Update: Outbreak Management Peer Challenge 2021


Sharon Stoltz updated the Board on the process of peer challenges of local authority’s outbreak control plans.  York’s review had been confirmed to be taking place virtually on 2 and 3 March. Feedback would be provided later, on 9 March.  The peer review would be led by Sarah Norman who was the Chief Executive of Barnsley Council and the regional lead for outbreak management.  Sharon informed the group that the council had been asked to focus on two areas.  The areas been identified were care homes and universities.  As York had provided a good covid response, especially in care homes and universities, there was a lot of learning to be shared with other areas.


Action 023: Tracy Wallis agreed to invite Board members to the feedback session.




108.    Items for Next Agenda


The Chair confirmed that there were three standing items for all future agendas:

·             Current Situation in York

·             Communications and engagement

·             Updates from Sub-Group/ Task and Finish Groups.

An agenda item around behavioural insight specialists was proposed for a future meeting.  Everyone agreed with this addition to the agenda.




109.    Dates of Future Meetings


The agreed dates of future meetings were as follows:

·        17 March 2021

·        7 April 2021

·        19 May 2021


The Board discussed changing the scheduling pattern but all agreed that they should continue on a monthly basis.




110.    Any Other Business


The Board had no other business to discuss. </AI12>





Cllr K Aspden, Chair

[The meeting started at 5.30 pm and finished at 7.10 pm].




























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