Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and minutes

Items
No. Item

76.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Board Members had no interests to declare.

77.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 November 2020, and actions arising pdf icon PDF 154 KB

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the previous minutes.  The Board approved the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting held on 18 November 2020.

 

78.

Verbal Update: Covid-19 Mass Vaccination

Minutes:

Stephanie Porter, Director of Primary Care and Population Health for the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), gave a verbal update on the covid-19 mass vaccination regime.

 

As the Pfizer vaccine had now been licensed and approved, 40 million units had been ordered. Nationally, there were currently 800,000 units available.  Due to one and a half doses being needed, this would be enough for 400,000 people.  The vaccine was safe and highly effective but was quite complex to move because of its fragility.  This would be managed appropriately through the agreed operational instructions.  The CCG had been working with primary care partners to ensure that a small amount of vaccine would be ready before Christmas.  The majority of the vaccines were expected to roll out in the early Winter/Spring of 2021.

 

The national government had secured six different types of vaccines, amounting to 350 million doses.  All high risk groups were expected to have been vaccinated by Spring 2021.  All prioritisation was being set at a national level, with specific high risk groups given preferential treatment.  Complementary communication messaging would run alongside the national vaccination regime to ensure a good take up of the vaccine. Charlie Jeffery, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of York, asked how much of the priority list would have been vaccinated by April.  The Board discussed this and agreed that it was too early to speculate because of the reliability of the supply chain.

79.

Current Situation in York pdf icon PDF 425 KB

Minutes:

Fiona Phillips, Assistant Director of Public Health at City of York Council, gave a brief update on the data at page 9 of the agenda pack.  The number of positive cases had been steadily declining and now averages at 17 cases per day.  The goal of a positivity rate below 5% had also been achieved, with the rate now standing at just over 2%.  In total there had been 191 covid-19 related deaths in York.

 

The Board noted the update and thanked the Public Health Team.

80.

Communications and Engagement (including updates from campaign task and finish groups) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

Claire Foale, Head of Communications for the City of York Council, gave a presentation on the continued messages and engagement carried out by the Council.  

 

During the second lockdown, the frequency of the Facebook Live Q&A sessions had been increased to weekly to ensure that  the public were well supported around any queries they had.  Claire thanked Sharon Stoltz and the rest of the Public Health Team for their involvement in the public engagement sessions.  They had now been reduced to monthly and would be more targeted since York was currently a Tier 2 area.  There had been great support from the local media in helping to disseminate public health messages promptly.  In efforts to ease lockdown fatigue, focus was now being put on we what could be done instead what could not.

 

The Emotional Health Campaign was the current focus for the communications team.  Support had been received for the local CVS which covered a range of existing mental health support services.  An email to employers explaining this had also been developed to help workplaces understand what support was available.  The regular ‘temperature checks’ had continued, which gave people the chance to share their feelings on the public health messages to ensure they were being properly understood. This also helped to gauge how comfortable the public felt in different public places and spaces.

 

Preparations had started for the announcement on the 16th December, which would confirm which tiered restrictions would be applied to each area.  Plans were being made for Tier 1 restrictions, to ensure York was prepared for all scenarios even though it was expected that the city would stay in Tier 2. Messages had also been prepared for sharing over the Christmas period to ensure there was not another spike in cases after the holidays.

 

Clarity was sought around the Christmas rule of three households meeting and whether this could be in hospitality arenas or just in private houses.  The Chair agreed to discuss this with a government minister on future regional calls.

Action 017: CllrKeith Aspden to discuss this with a government minister.

 

The Board noted the Bronze Award recently awarded to the Communications team for their response to the pandemic. The Chair thanked the team for their work, and Claire Foale thanked partners and highlighted the great collaborative work that had been adopted during the pandemic.

 

The Board noted the presentation.

81.

Update from Sub-Group: Universities and Higher Education Establishments pdf icon PDF 385 KB

Minutes:

Charlie Jeffery updated the Board on managing the transfer of students returning from their university accommodation to their family home for the Christmas period.

 

Students would be tested with a lateral flow test (LFT) before they left.  Eight thousand tests had been carried out at both of the university sites and only two positive results had been received. Both universities currently had ten active positive cases, which were being managed appropriately.  Of all the completed tests, only 20 had void results.  These rates had been discussed with the Public Health Team and it was explained they were reflective of the trends seen in the wider community.  The return of students would be staggered over five weeks from 4 January 2021.  Students would be strongly encouraged to take up an LFT on their arrival back at the university.

 

Charlie also reported that both of the universities had been working with York and Hull hospitals to collaborate on the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) testing.  This was done through a national scheme which had invited this collaboration.  This type of testing would initially be offered to NHS frontline staff but with the possibility of extending the provision to universities if the resource allowed it. 

 

The Board noted the update from the Sub-Group.

82.

Analysis of the Impact of Covid-19 on the Economy pdf icon PDF 735 KB

Minutes:

Simon Brereton, Head of Economic Growth at City of York Council, gave a presentation on the impact of Covid-19 on the York economy.

 

Retail contributed 8% of the local gross value added (GBA).  It only accounted for an eighth of the economy but made up a quarter of all employment in the city.  Visitors were crucial for the city centre as more than £100 million had been lost in revenue compared to Quarter Two from last year.  Simon reported that in Quarter Three, 46% of spend came from over 50km away.

 

Councillor Myers asked how York had experienced the highest number of store closures in the area even though prior to the pandemic the number of vacancies in the city had been among the lowest.  Simon responded that York was still well below national averages in terms of shop vacancies but there had been a number of closures throughout the year.  The larger chain stores were among the most heavily hit throughout the country and most of these had a presence in York.

 

James Farrar, the Local Enterprise Partnership representative, informed the Board that international travel would be low for a number of years, which was expected to cause a rise in ‘staycation’ holidays.  York was a desirable place for this type of holiday.  This could be used as an opportunity to re-think the offer in the city centre.  Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director of First York, expressed similar sentiments, stating that we needed to sell York to the right market.

 

The Board noted the presentation.

83.

Covid-19 Testing - Presentation

Minutes:

Fiona Phillips gave a presentation on the plans regarding York’s lateral flow testing programme.

 

After the testing priorities had been agreed at the last meeting, a number of national lateral flow schemes had been announced.  Results from some of the national pilots assessing the effectiveness of lateral flow tests in the field had also started to be received.  Whilst the lateral flow tests were not as accurate as PCR testing, there was a benefit to finding asymptomatic cases and ensuring the public health action was taken with these cases.  Using these tests where prevalence was highest would yield the most benefit.

 

Fiona asked the Board for an agreement on the order of priority in which groups should be offered testing.  The retail, hospitality and transport sectors had been identified as a priority group as they came into contact with a lot of people and therefore were expected to have a high positivity rate.  Vulnerable people still had to go shopping and reducing the transmission in these sectors would help them as well.  The other priority group identified was those in the care sector who were not covered by any of the national programmes, including the voluntary sector and unpaid carers who came into contact with vulnerable people.  As this could not be mandated it would still be each person’s choice to get tested. Fiona informed the Board that it was hoped to have one testing site operational before Christmas. 

 

There was a discussion amongst Board members of the positives and negatives of any decision on provision, while seeking guidance from the public health team.  The Board supported the testing provision being prioritised for the hospitality, transport and retail sectors, but with the view that it would be expanded to other groups as quickly as possible.

 

After the first site had become operational, other sites for testing would be identified.  Pop-up sites were also being looked into for areas where the prevalence might be higher than the city’s average.  A postal offer for care workers who were not included in the national offer was also being explored, but currently had not been approved by the Department of Health and Social Care.

 

The Board noted the presentation.

84.

Covid-19 Contact Tracing - Presentation

Minutes:

The local contact tracing service followed up over 70% of all contacts they received.  Fiona Phillips informed the Board of a case study from one of the contact tracers.  After a case had been found to be in hospital, the contact tracing team had followed up with a family member who was able to identify where the individual had been and who they had been in contact with.  The family were also given advice around how to self-isolate safely.  They needed to be appropriately recorded in the national system in order for isolation payments to be available.  If this call had not been followed up, this individual would not have been eligible for isolation payments as they wouldn’t be registered in the national system.

 

The Board noted the presentation.

85.

Agenda Items for the Next Meeting

Minutes:

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

 

Board members were asked to email any further suggestions for future agenda items.

86.

Dates of Future Meetings

Minutes:

The agreed dates of future meetings were as follows:

·          13th January 2021

·          10th February 2021

·          17th March 2021

·          7th April 2021

·          19th May 2021

 

87.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

The Board had no other business to discuss.

 

 

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