LATEST COUNCIL COVID-19 Update – 28th April 2020

The latest Covid-19 update from the Council is below.

“In terms of national context, as of the 27th April 2020 there have been 157,149 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, an increase of 4,310 in the last 24 hours. Sadly, the number of confirmed hospital deaths in the UK to date is 21,092 an increase of 360 in the last 24 hours. The reported deaths nationally exclude anyone who has died at home or in a care home.

In terms of local context, the number of COVID-19 cases as reported by Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust as at 6pm on the 27th April stood at 1,273.   Sadly, the total number of reported deaths of people who tested positive with COVID-19 at LTHT up to 5pm April 26th is 186.  By way of continuing to update you on the broader tragic loss of life in the city during this outbreak, 25 covid-19 related deaths were registered on 27 April, bringing the total of covid-19 related deaths in Leeds to 332.  Of those 332 deaths registered so far, 321 (97%) were Leeds residents, 203 (61%) were in hospitals, 101 (30%) were in care homes, 9 (3%) in a hospice, and 19 (6%) in their own home.  We continue to monitor these figures daily. Care home cases remain a significant concern, with active support from a range of colleagues.

At a glance, today’s briefing covers –

  • National developments including the introduction of more mobile testing units, support for online learning and temporary changes to procedures for school admission appeals
  • A minute’s silence to remember those NHS and care worker who have died after testing positive for Covid-19
  • Testing
  • Safer Leeds Communities Fund
  • ‘Doing Good’ blog
  • Local developments
  • Social media messages to share

National developments including –

  • Mobile testing – Essential workers and the most vulnerable will receive increased access to coronavirus tests after the government unveiled a network of mobile testing units to travel where there is significant demand, including care homes, police stations, prisons, benefits centres and fire and rescue services. Mobile facilities can be set up in under 20 minutes, allowing the testing of hundreds of people each day and are now travelling to those most in need and hard to reach. Specially trained Armed Forces personnel will collect swabs at the mobile sites, before they are sent to mega-labs for processing. Those tested will receive results within 48 hours. At this stage, we don’t anticipate any of these in Leeds, but there are some in North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and there may be some in other parts of West Yorkshire.
  • Support for online learning – Last Friday (24 April) the Department for Education wrote to councils, academy trusts and other responsible bodies overseeing schools, colleges and children’s social care outlining the process for ordering devices for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. Guidance has been updated for schools and colleges on how to order internet access and digital devices and access support to provide remote education during the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance can be found here.
  • School Admission appeals – Regulations that temporarily amend the 2012 Appeals Regulations and give admission authorities, local authorities and admission appeal panels more flexibility when dealing with appeals during the coronavirus outbreak came into force on Friday 24 April. The new regulations give admission authorities the flexibility to manage appeals whilst ensuring families are supported and not disadvantaged by current measures to protect public health. Accompanying non-statutory guidance, that explains the temporary changes to the School Admission Appeal Regulations 2012 and provides guidance for managing appeals during the coronavirus outbreak, has been published.

A minute’s silence to mark key worker deaths – Thank you to those who responded to the call for a one minute silence today as part of the Annual International Workers Memorial Day, especially poignant with e Covid-19 related deaths of all key workers. I am sure there will be other opportunities in the future to mark the tragic loss of so many.

Testing – Testing capacity continues to increase. More than 500 tests were carried out at Temple Green on Saturday and the take up from staff in Leeds has been good. The aim is to continue to increase capacity in line with national guidance. Local testing turnaround times for staff tests at LTHT is around 24 hours and at Temple Green around 48 hours.  There are currently three routes for care sector staff to access testing: book through local CCG booking system; the national booking system or the CQC route. Given that there have been significant issues with the national booking system for testing, we are keen to ensure locally accessible testing remains in place in Leeds. There has been communication across the council for key workers to be able to access testing in line with the guidance – ie symptomatic and ideally within 3 days. We are involved in developments about contact tracing through Victoria Eaton and will update you when we know more.

Safer Communities Fund – We’ve been made aware by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office that they currently have an £150,000 extra-ordinary Safer Communities Fund grant running with a specific focus on supporting communities to help deal with the fall out of COVID-19. Community groups can bid for grants of up to £6000 for projects and interventions which target domestic and sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, mental health, fraud and drugs/alcohol services. The money is due to be allocated by the end of May with a view to the projects being delivered over the next 6 months. You can find out more about it on their website.

Local developments – We are aware of some people parking dangerously, especially in the city centre, where we are issuing warning notices.  Schools continue to provide for key worker children, with some operating across hubs, and extensive activity to follow up on vulnerable children who are not attending school.  City centre footfall continues to remain at around 10% of usual figure. Work with trade union colleagues continues, with any vulnerable staff who are at work are doing so willingly and have Occupational Health advice.  Extensive guidance to managers is being issued weekly.

Over recent weeks I have endeavoured to keep you  as update as possible on the city’s rapidly changing response to Covid-19. Given the volume of new information the Council have been receiving, and the impact that has had upon local services, this required an almost daily email. However, the Council have advised that as we move towards the next phase of the pandemic response, the nature and volume of the information the Council are receiving and of the changes being made has also changed. The Council intend now to provide an update probably every other day, unless there is anything particularly urgent in which case they will do an additional update. The Council will make the update at the end of the week a more detailed communication covering developments from all the multi-agency arrangements during the week. The Council will be producing and publishing a further report to Executive Board for the May meeting.”