LATEST COUNCIL COVID UPDATE – 18TH FEBRUARY

The latest Council Covid update is below. If you would like any of the attachments referred to please email me at barry.anderson@leeds.gov.uk

Here is a regular update for you following the additional notification yesterday about extra testing in some parts of the city. This update provides the latest position, an update about shielding, a great briefing note about food provision in the city, vaccination developments in settings for children and young people, local and national updates and updated key messages.

 

Latest position: There has been a decrease the Leeds 7 day infection and positivity rates, although our rates are not going down as fast as other areas of the country. The national average overall rate is 143 per 100,000.

  • The Leeds 7 day Covid infection rate is now 166.4 per 100,000, a 20% fall in the last 7 days
  • Leeds weekly case rate per 100,000 for 60+ years is 123.0 a 28% fall in the last 7 days
  • Leeds 7 day positivity is 8.1%
  • On 17 February, 15 covid-related deaths were registered, bringing the total of covid-related deaths in Leeds to 1,445.  Of the 1,445 covid-related deaths registered so far, 1,402 (97%) were Leeds residents, 936 (65%) were in hospitals, 393 (27%) were in care homes, 45 (3%) in a hospice, and 71 (5%) in their own home.  To date, 20% of all deaths registered have been covid-related.
  • Excess Deaths last week (w/e 14th Feb) were 150 deaths registered compared to 128 in the same week in 2020 – a 17.2% increase. Compares to a 30.7% increase nationally and 7% increase across Y&H.
  • Rates in wards are almost all reducing, with only one ward now just over 300 and the lowest ward now under 40 per 100,000
  • Universities are not seeing a surge in cases and partly due to the partnership working in the city complaints from student are down 21% compared to an increase of 40% nationally.
  • The position with outbreaks in settings remains stable.
  • Compliance and enforcement activity continues in response to intelligence.
  • Leeds self-isolation payment and non-eligibility data: we have received 295 applications in the last 7 days, averaging 59 per working day.  This is slightly higher than last week. The maximum earnings threshold for a discretionary award was increased last week from £16,777 per annum to £25,000 per annum. Although the overall success rate since the October 2020 remains at 49%, the success rate for applications received since 1st February is 57% and the success rate for applications received from 8th February is 61%.

 

Shielding: The Government has announced that 1.7m people in England are being added to the Shielded Patient List and advised to shield with immediate effect until 31st March. Shielding is extended until 31st March for all CEVs. People newly added to the list will begin to be notified by email from Thursday and by letter from Friday. Updated guidance can be found here.  The advice means not attending work in person, not going to supermarkets or pharmacies and taking all precautions to avoid coming into close contact with anyone outside the home or support bubble. Even if you have had both doses of the vaccine, you are advised to follow the shielding guidance until the end of March whilst the rates of Covid infection remain high. The summary is attached in case it is helpful for you.

 

Mobile testing unit: locations for the week ahead (all 9am-3pm- book here or call 119)

  • Thursday 18th: Armley Leisure Centre, Leeds | Morley Leisure Centre, Leeds | St. George’s Medical Centre, Leeds
  • Friday 19th: Armley Leisure Centre, Leeds | St. George’s Medical Centre, Leeds | Rowland Road Working Men’s Club, Leeds
  • Saturday 20th: Rowland Road WMC, Leeds | St. George’s Medical Centre, Leeds
  • Sunday 21st: Rowland Road WMC, Leeds | St. George’s Medical Centre, Leeds
  • Monday 22nd: Armley Leisure Centre, Leeds | Rowland Road WMC, Leeds

 

Vaccine update: The vaccination work continues to progress well in the city, with approximately 175,000 vaccinations delivered in the city. Advice has been issued to settings providing services to children and young people in the city about frontline health and social care workers who are now eligible to be invited for a vaccination in line with the JCVI guidance and Social Care Standard Operating Procedures. This includes staff who are directly involved who are providing close and regular personal care for clinically vulnerable children (CV) or clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) children or young people. The communications that has been shared with settings provides detailed examples to clarify what “close personal care” means and also provides links to the specifics of what counts as CV or CEV.  The aim of this programme is to vaccinate the health and social care workforce to reduce the risk of infection for those Clinically Vulnerable (CV) and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to prevent serious illness and mortality.

 

Food provision update: The attached briefing note provides some really helpful information about food provision in the city, with updated links to key sources of information that maybe useful to share in your communities.

 

Registrar appointments: Registrar appointments to register a birth and give notice of marriage/civil partnership will resume from Monday 15th February. However, to help clear existing backlogs, new bookings will not be available until Monday 22nd February. Ceremonies remain cancelled and will only take place in exceptional circumstances in line with government recommendations for the duration of the lockdown and with a maximum of 6 attendees.

 

Advice about Better Health Campaign: There are several initiatives to help residents across the city live a healthier life. Here are links for you to share.

  • One You Leeds, in partnership with Jamie’s Ministry of Food and Zest, offers an 8-week cooking course online to teach you practical cooking skills, hints and tips.
  • One You Leeds offers a mix of behaviour support and free nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit.
  • One You Leeds Eat Better service is about keeping yourself healthy and happy by eating a balanced diet.
  • Want to get active this year? Being active is good for your body and mind. Physical activity isn’t all about sports – anything that gets you moving is beneficial for your health. One You Leeds free online classes could be the ideal solution if you’re looking to gradually increase your activity level.
  • One You Leeds 12 week programme helps you lose weight in a healthy, safe and sustainable way. Over 87% of participants lost weight.

 

National Developments:

  • The Government announced that councils across England have been allocated £125 million funding to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children.
  • Leeds and London set to become global centres of green finance. The two cities will be home to a new UK centre for driving global green finance and investment, thanks to £10 million in government investment.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination uptake plan sets out how the government and NHS England are partnering with directors of public health, charities and the faith sector to increase vaccine take up and ensure equal access.
  • Robust border regime comes into force: anyone who has visited a country on the UK’s travel ban list in the last 10 days will have to quarantine in hotels from 15th
  • The Government announced that renters will continue to be supported during the ongoing national lockdown restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.
  • The Department for Education has launched a consultation on its proposed Get Help Buying for Schools service to help schools and academies buy goods and services.
  • The Government has confirmed that councils across England have been allocated a share of £500 million for highways maintenance, with the funding expected to fix the equivalent of ten million potholes across the country.
  • Government guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable has been updated.
  • The Department for Health and Social Care has, announced the introduction of a new predictive risk model to help clinicians identify a new group of people who may be at high risk from COVID19. Up to 1.7 million patients have been identified.
  • Everyone most at risk from coronavirus has now been offered a vaccination, with more than 15 million jabs achieved in less than 10 weeks.

 

Extra Testing

There will be some additional testing taking place next week in some parts of Leeds, with a national announcement likely later today and a local media release being issued. It may be referred to as surge testing nationally, although in Leeds we are describing this as additional surveillance testing in communities to help us understand the level of new variants in order to be better informed and for future response. The testing will be available mainly in LS8, including parts of Harehills and the area just north of Easterly Road. We appreciate the role that ward members have played in helping to develop the plan and deliver the activity.

 

The government has asked us to do a week’s worth of additional testing (5000 PCR tests) for people without symptoms as surveillance activity to help understand and manage the new variants of Covid. A percentage of any positive tests will be sent for sampling. The additional testing in Leeds is an extra precaution following two probable cases of the South African variant back in January in the Harehills area. We want to reassure local residents that the risk of transmission is very low, as the two cases we are aware of in Leeds have been probable, not confirmed, and are historic cases.  Both cases have been well managed locally, and there is no evidence of onward transmission. As further context, cases of the South African variant also remain very low nationally, and it does not lead to more severe disease and is not thought to be any more contagious than the dominant UK variant which originated in Kent

 

It is important to note that levels of infection have been falling in these areas of Leeds over recent weeks, in line with improving infection rates right across the city. We are keen to maintain this, so we are asking everyone to continue to follow the restrictions and public health advice, and to get the vaccination when eligible. The key challenge for the city, as you are aware, comes from the new UK (Kent) variant which accounts for about 80% of our cases and spreads more easily.

 

This additional testing will allow us to find any potential asymptomatic cases of new variants and build a more detailed, comprehensive picture of where those cases may come from and how they might spread. The testing will start on 22 February and be delivered at the Infinity Centre, Conway Road (near the Bilal Mosque site) and through home delivery kits, an approach that has worked well in the past. The additional tests will also complement other local activity such as education and compliance work, as well as extensive work to encourage vaccination take up. All local communications and engagement channels will be used to engage the public to get a test. Those working in the area will also be eligible for a test. The information about how to access a test will be promoted to those in the area and the information will be placed on the CCG website later this week.

 

A regular update will follow later in the week as we head towards hearing about the government’s roadmap next week.

 

Key messages: Please continue to help us get infection rates down further by sharing these key messages with your networks and on social media:

  • More than ever we need everyone to keep playing their part – act as though you have the virus. Stay at home when you should and reduce contact.
  • Infection rates in Leeds have been coming down slowly but we need it to come down further.
  • The NHS remains under pressure with more people having to stay in hospital longer.
  • The basics of handwashing, maintaining distance and wearing a mask are crucial at all times, including in and around workplaces, and even when you have had the vaccine.
  • Take up your vaccination appointment when offered and encourage others to do so.
  • We know that this is really tough for everyone, but we need infection rates to fall even more to see a way out of restrictions and businesses to reopen.

A further update will follow at the end of the week, including the economic briefing. We look forward to next week’s publication of the roadmap to understand what that will mean for the city and the council.