LATEST COUNCIL COVID-19 UPDATE 30TH APRIL

See latest update below.

“Let me begin by updating you on the national impact of the virus, confirming yesterday’s figures announced by government and covered in the media, which reported 165,221 confirmed cases, with sadly a total of 26,097 deaths since the outbreak began. In terms of the global position, as of the 29th April 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported the number of confirmed cases globally has exceeded 3 million, 3 018 952, this is an increase of 66 276 in the last 24 hours. To date there have been 207 973 known deaths worldwide, an increase of 5376 in the last 24 hours. Both infection and mortality rates remain fairly stable with an overall upward trend. The UK is ranked the 3rd worst affected county in Europe, the global threat level from WHO remains at very high.

In terms of cases and deaths in Leeds: As at 7pm on the 29th April, the latest confirmed figures in Leeds stood at 1,322.  Sadly, the total number of reported deaths of people who tested positive with COVID-19 in Leeds hospitals up to 5pm April 28th is 205. As we all very much aware deaths Covid-19 deaths are not limited to those in a hospital setting as captured by these figures and there is particular concern about the need to properly reflect the deaths of those in care settings, hospices and at home. By way of therefore continuing to update you on the broader tragic loss of life in the city during this outbreak, the latest summary position of COVID related deaths since 27 March is  372.  Of those 372 deaths registered so far, 361 (97%) were Leeds residents, 224 (60%) were in hospitals, 119 (32%) were in care homes, 9 (2%) in a hospice, and 20 (5%) in their own home.  Please note that these broader death figures are caveated in that the deaths recorded outside of hospitals have not been tested. We continue to monitor these figures daily, as well as monitoring excess deaths weekly, and we will provide a further update later this week.

Care homes: As you know from previous updates, care home cases remain a significant concern for us, with more testing being done and continued active support for care homes from a range of health and social care colleagues. There are 46 care homes in the city with suspected or confirmed outbreaks, with support being provided by infection control teams as well as PPE advice from colleagues, and in some cases support from Public Health England.

At a glance, today’s briefing covers –

  • National developments including confirmation of the allocations of £1.6bn funding for councils, the reporting of deaths in social care settings, waste recycling centres to re-open, life assurance scheme for health and care workers, the use of PPE by those working in homecare, the provision of new loans for small businesses and VE day celebrations
  • Testing update
  • Food provision and universal credit impacts (detailed briefing attached)
  • Emergency Dental treatment
  • Local Developments including parking enforcement, waste collection, paid for shopping service
  • Social media messages to share

National developments, including a local perspective where relevant –

  • Government confirmation of allocations of £1.6bn funding announced last week – Individual councils in England have had funding allocations confirmed following the Local Government Secretary’s recent announcement of £1.6 billion in additional funding. Leeds has been allocated a further £21.8m bringing the total emergency funding allocated to Leeds to £43.7m. While additional funding is of course welcome, current forecasts of the cost of Covid-19 to our authority are way beyond the funding that has been allocated. This continues to be one of our biggest concerns.
  • Deaths in social care settings – The government has announced that provisional counts of deaths in care homes as reported to CQC will be reported every Tuesday. These figures will cover deaths in social care from covid-19 up to three days prior to the release date. As you know, we have been reporting all local deaths to you, including those in care homes.
  • Waste recycling centres re-opening – This week, the Local Government Secretary asked councils to plan for the organised reopening of their waste and recycling sites. Updated guidance will be published shortly to support local government to open sites safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Local work is progressing to work this through so that sites can be open in a safe manner, and communications will follow once this plan and timeline is clear.
  • Life assurance scheme for health and care workers – On Monday the Department for Health and Social Care announced a new life assurance scheme new life assurance scheme for frontline health and care workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme recognises the increased risk faced by staff during the crisis and will cover coronavirus related deaths of workers in frontline health and adult and children’s social care roles during the outbreak. Under the scheme, bereaved family members will receive a £60,000 lump sum worth roughly twice the average pensionable pay for NHS staff, with the cost being met by the government. This will cover full, part-time or locum NHS and public health workers, including GPs, dentists, retired staff and second and final year students taking up paid frontline roles.
  • Using PPE in domiciliary or home care settings – Public Health England has published a document on the use of PPE for care workers delivering homecare. The document also explains how PPE guidance applies to the homecare setting and includes an FAQ and case studies. As described above, there continues to be very active work to support care homes in following this guidance, with testing and with broader infection control.
  • Government loan scheme for small businesses – Small businesses are to benefit from a new fast track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. The new Bounce Back Loans Scheme will bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic by providing loans of up to £50,000. The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days. The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.
  • 75th anniversary of VE day – The government announced today revised plans to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May in a manner consistent with the current measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, allowing members of the public to remember and give thanks to the Second World War generation from the safety of their own homes. Details of the VE Day Programme, with details of how to take part and including VE Day related educational resources, aimed at Key Stages 2, 3 & 4, exploring the significance of VE Day resources. Everyone is asked to promote these and use the opportunity to say thank you to all those who served and made so many sacrifices, both at home and abroad; encourage communities to join in online; and promote the #VEDay75 hashtag when sharing activities online via social media. Of course, councils, event organisers and individuals should continue to follow the latest government guidelines on mass gatherings and social distancing. Updates will continue to be posted on uk website.

 

Testing – Testing continues to be expanded. Nationally mobile testing teams staffed by the army are now active and testing in some care homes, although not in Leeds because we have good capacity with Temple Green and LTHT (including postal tests to care homes). We have retained local booking for key workers, and will keep this until the national system is more robust and reliable. Yesterday, the Government announced further expansion of access to coronavirus testing to help protect the most vulnerable, including anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either has to leave home to go to work or is aged 65 and over will now also be able to get tested. Full guidance can be found here and the testing portal can be accessed here.  If you want to share information  This is a message that can be shared via twitter if you wish.  Work continues to work through the practicalities of embedding this new offer into the local arrangements.

Food provision and Universal Credit – Food provision for our most vulnerable citizens has been, and remains, one of the biggest challenges and highest priorities within our pandemic response. I have attached a comprehensive briefing note which covers food provision and the growing impact of new Universal Credit claims (and other associated welfare issues) in the city.  This is based on the information available in the city at the moment and reflects the growing scale of the challenge facing us and partner organisations.

Emergency Dental Treatment – We have received a number of member queries about emergency dental treatment. As you’ll no doubt be aware that regular dental services have been halted. However, dental practices remain open and accessible to patients, both for those who recently accessed the practice and those who do not have a regular dentist – and NHS England continues to work with dental practices to confirm this. If patients cannot access a Dental Practice, and for Out of Hours services, patients can contact NHS 111. Patients will be triaged and offered advice, support and analgesia/antibiotics as appropriate. For patients who do still require face to face care, a number of practices in each locality, across Yorkshire and the Humber, have been identified to provide an urgent treatment service as required. These centres are in the process of being established and will be accessible upon receipt of enhanced PPE.  It is hoped that some of these centres will be operational this week (w/c 27 April 2020), subject to the required PPE being available. Patients presenting at A&E should be advised, if their condition is not an emergency, to contact a Dental Practice or 111 Out of Hours. We will keep you updated with developments on this.

Local developments including –

  • Parking Enforcement – We are reminding people to continue to observe the parking restrictions, especially the yellow lines which are there to ensure road safety and protect access.  Pay and display parking , both on street and in car parks, remains free of charge with priority for NHS, key workers and social care staff.  Parking in other areas such as on yellow lines is not permitted and parking penalties will be issued to those that park illegally.  Civil Enforcement Officers are issuing warnings to illegally parked vehicles at the moment and will begin to issue PCNs by the end of the week once people have had chance to modify their parking behaviour.  A press release was sent out on 27 April.
  • Waste collection –Green and black bins continue to be collected as normal, along with medical waste collections. Glass banks also continue to be collected as normal. Recycling centres currently remain closed and brown bins are not currently being collected. For those of you who may be interested, there is a live Q&A taking place at 1pm tomorrow on the Zero Waste Leeds Facebook page. Questions can be submitted in advance by posting them in the event page.
  • Paid for shopping service: We have agreed that the facility to issue vouchers, and collect the necessary information for the recovery of payments, for the paid for shopping process will go live across the City tomorrow. During the next week the hubs will be supported in the implementation of the systems and processes that will allow the recovery process to operate efficiently and effectively. Further information about this service will follow once this has been tested in a live scenario.”