Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and minutes

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Board Members had no interests to declare.


Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 138 KB


The Board signed off the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting held on 9 June 2021.


The Chair updated the Board on an action that had arisen from the last meeting regarding the anti-covid stickers. The CYC Communications Team had spoken to the frontline Enforcement Team who had agreed to keep an eye out for any stickers and remove them where appropriate.  As it was a difficult task to identify all stickers, the Chair asked the public to report any sightings through the following link.


Current Situation in York - Presentation pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Fiona Phillips, Assistant Director of Public Health, gave a presentation on the current Covid-19 situation in York. Cases had risen in recent weeks with York having a seven day rate of 411.6 per 100,000 people.  This was above both the national and regional rates and was the fourth highest in the Yorkshire and Humber region. 


Fiona also reported that the 60+ rate had increased along with that of all the other age groups.  The highest number of cases was found in the 15-24 age group, and this was attributed to them not being vaccinated or only having had a single dose.  Even though hospital admissions had remained low for a number of weeks, an increase was starting to be seen.  Fiona explained that previously it had taken two weeks for case rates to affect hospital admissions and four weeks to affect death rates.  It had been a much slower increase this summer as the link between cases and hospital admissions had been weakened by vaccinations.


Fiona informed the Board that local zero contact tracing had been successful. with the service contacting over 90% of cases most weeks.  She added that York had been piloting contacting contacts of cases but this was still under discussion as to whether local areas would be encouraged to engage at this level.


The Chair noted the current pressures on the hospital, GPs and the Yorkshire Ambulance service.  Fiona updated the Board on the plans to release capacity in primary care by signposting the public to other services wherever possible.


James Farrar, of the Local Enterprise Partnership, asked whether the increase in the over 60 cohort was an indication the vaccine was becoming weaker over time.  Fiona explained that there were national studies looking into this.  There had been cases of covid in people had been double vaccinated, but the symptoms were less and the virus became much less transmissible.


Covid-19 Epidemiological Look Forward pdf icon PDF 628 KB


Peter Roderick, Consultant in Public Health for City of York Council and Vale of York CCG, informed the Board of the different models used to analyse sickness rates. Although no models would give a precise indication, they had been proven to help in the past. It had been estimated that each case of the Delta variant of the virus would generate seven other cases if no mitigation measures were in place. The only measures proven to stop the increase had been movement restrictions. With fewer restrictions on movement, a higher peak than that seen in January could be expected.


The Board discussed how vaccines would protect a large number of the population but not all, as 17% of York residents could not be vaccinated due to a long-term condition or being under 18 years of age. The Board discussed how herd immunity could be achieved and whether any models took into account the loss of immunity. Charlie Jeffery asked whether the unvaccinated infected immune population had also been accounted for in the model, since anti bodies could last up to a year. Peter assured the Board that this was being discussed nationally.


The Board noted the update.



Update on the Vaccination Programme pdf icon PDF 538 KB


·        Vaccine Take Up

·         Access to Vaccines and Addressing Vaccine Inequality.

Additional documents:


Stephanie Porter, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Vale of York CCG, reported that the third stage of the vaccination programme was progressing well. She informed the Board that 96% of the 80+ cohort and 90% of the 60+ cohort had now been vaccinated. There were some logistical issues with the regional vaccine supply, but these were expected to be addressed before they affected York’s local supply.


Anita Dobson, Nurse Consultant for Public Health at City of York Council, circulated a report which demonstrated the system-wide approach to addressing vaccination inequalities. Various barriers around accessibility had been addressed by organising transport and pop-up clinics. Residents would receive transportation information with their invitation for vaccination to also address any technological barriers. A community offer through pharmacies was also being explored. 


Anita reported that the local vaccine hesitancy tracing had paused. The enhanced service would be stood back up once capacity allowed for it. Vaccine hesitancy was also being addressed in vulnerable groups like the homeless and traveller communities through targeted work.


Professor Mike Holmes presented four slides on how Nimbuscare were implementing the vaccination programme.

[These have since been published in an agenda supplement and are available to view online.]


Stephanie Porter reported that she had found some issues with the size of most pharmacies. Due to an observation period requirement when administering the vaccine, smaller sites had been deselected.  This was unfortunate since many expressions of interest had been received from pharmacies wanting to support the vaccination programme. As the process was managed on a regional basis, it was determined by NHS England.  Stephanie agreed to express York’s interest again.  Sharon Stoltz suggested that an update regarding the vaccination planning be provided at the September meeting of the Board. This could also include the covid booster and plans for flu vaccination, and would also assure the Board that winter planning was under way.


The Board noted the update and thanked everyone involved with the vaccination programme.



Covid-19 Testing Strategy - Verbal Item


Fiona Phillips updated the Board on how the testing plan had been submitted to DHSC.  Although agreed for the next three months, it would be reviewed on a quarterly basis.  The plan outlined how York would address the issues around under-represented groups. The majority of the testing programme would be carried out through outreach work in the community, with most of the larger sites being stood down.  Fiona reported that a site was being sought in the Rawcliffe area to replace the site at the stadium.


The Board noted the update.


Communications Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB


Gareth Wilce, Senior Communications Manager at City of York Council, gave a presentation on the key messages and four phases of the Outbreak Communications Plan.  Against a backdrop of rising cases, there had been a delay in progressing to step four of the plan.  There had been messaging reminding residents to take practical steps to reduce transmission, to help reduce the expected rise in cases from the England football match. James Farrar reported that the low-level messaging was useful in ensuring that everyone was communicating the same information.


A new campaign had been launched last week, due to many people losing strength and mobility from living a more sedentary lifestyle over the pandemic.  Gareth reported that this had been carried this out with partners from across the voluntary sector in community-based support services.


Gareth informed the Board that the PHE behavioural insight work had had a low uptake in terms of participation in the research. They had managed to carry out eight detailed interviews, but since not enough information was found interviews would continue.  The uptake of the temperature checks had also fallen, with only 200 responders compared to 2000 at the end of the last lockdown.  Gareth reported that this aligned with the narrative that the community were becoming more comfortable due to the vaccination programme.


The Board noted the presentation.


Update from Sub-Group: Universities and Higher Education establishments pdf icon PDF 400 KB


Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of York, gave an update on the higher education case rates and how the government’s announcements would affect students in the autumn term in September.  There had been a general commitment not to treat students differently from the general population.  It had also been stipulated that no students would be denied education on the grounds of refusal to wear a face covering.  The Covid App would also be abolished, and used in universities only in relation to close social contact indoors.


The Board discussed the isolation process followed by students when their tenancy had ended.  Charlie explained that the student’s tenancy would be extended without charge through the welfare package.  Since most student accommodations had a buffer period to deep clean between tenants, there should not be a problem.  If this was not an option, on-campus accommodation would be provided.  Sharon Stoltz reported that she had had to personally intervene on two occasions when private landlords were being particularly difficult.  However, this was put down to their lack of understanding of the legal restrictions.  She added that extensive support networks had also put in place for international students.


Board noted the update.



Items for Next Agenda


The Chair agreed with Board Members to hold an additional meeting in August, to consider the following three items:

·        Current situation in York

·        Easy of Restrictions and the impact this had locally

·        Communications across the Health and Social Care System around the easing of restrictions.


For the September meeting, the following items were expected:

·        Current Situation in York

·        Communications and engagement

·        Updates from Sub-Group/ Task and Finish Groups

·        Third Impact Survey: Update from the voluntary sector

·        Update on the economy and building back fairer

·        Update on the Vaccine Programme and Winter Planning (including flu vaccine and covid booster)

·        A community approach to recovery


Board Members were invited to contact Tracy Wallis outside of the meeting if they wished to suggest any future agenda items.



Dates of Future Meetings


The agreed dates of future meetings were as follows:

·        24 August 2021

·        29 September 2021

·        13 October 2021

·        24 November 2021

·        22 December 2021

·        26 January 2022

·        16 February 2022

·        23 March 2022

·        20 April 2022

·        25 May 2022



Any Other Business


The Board had no other business to discuss.


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