The latest Council Covid update is below. If you would like a copy of the Economic briefing mentioned please email me at email@example.com
“Today’s update includes key messages, the latest position; the vaccine programme; the expansion of the CEV group; headlines from the economic briefing note which is attached; details of a HMRC-Covid related email scam; and the usual national developments and social media messages to share.
Key messages: Whilst our rates continue to go down, the rate of decline is now much slower. With more than 90% of cases in the city being the new UK variant, which is more transmissible, and still a high proportion of asymptomatic cases, we really need a big push in every area of the city to get everyone to act as though they have the virus, stay at home where possible and reduce contact. The attached infographic maybe useful for you to share so that we can get the whole city behind this push to get everyone to play their part.
- The overall infection rate for the city is now, 157 per 100,000, a 20% decline in 7 days. The Y&H average is 149 per 100,000 and the England average is 133 per 100,000.
- The over 60 age rate is now 111.8 per 100,000, a 34% decline in 7 days
- Positivity is going down slowly and is now at 7.8%
- The latest ward range is between 27.3 and 332.9 per 100,000. Still very dynamic.
- Outbreaks remain stable or are reducing across most settings, with outbreaks in hospital settings, 12 care homes, 41 education settings and 8 workplaces. All of these are being managed and further preventative work continues.
- We also continue the regular monitoring of ward rates, progressing community engagement plans in areas of high infection rates and via our Community Champions and a range of other proactive communications.
Below are the planned MTU deployments up to and including Monday 1 March (all 9am-3pm- book here or call 119):
- Armley Leisure Centre, Leeds – Tuesday 23, Wednesday 24, Thursday 25, Friday 26 & Monday 1 March
- Bramley Housing Office, Leeds – Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24
- St George’s Medical Centre, Leeds – Tuesday 23, Wednesday 24, Thursday 25, Friday 26, Saturday 27 & Sunday 28
- Rowland Rd Working Men’s Club, Leeds – Wednesday 24, Friday 26, Saturday 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 1 March
- Morley Leisure Centre, Leeds – Thursday 25, and Monday 1 March
Vaccination programme and uptake: The Covid-19 vaccine programme is continuing to be rolled out at pace across the city, with extensive work being done on vaccine inequalities as you know from previous updates. Work is progressing to develop community outreach offers to increase vaccination uptake in low uptake areas, including:
- drop in clinics at the Bilal Centre soon, supported by PCN staff and community leaders
- workshops organised for Local Care Partnerships to identify barriers and interventions to support the development of tailored plans to increase uptake
- developing an offer for PCN’s to support proactive conversations with patients who are hesitant to taking up the offer of the vaccine
- and workshops booked to plan outreach with LCPs, PCN and partners and community.
We are kick starting a roving vaccine approach to complement delivery through the PCN’s. This will deliver a rapid, responsive, roving model in the coming weeks, supported by community engagement activity including door knocking and community awareness raising. Three delivery models are being planned to offer the vaccine to those who have missed it in the first 4 cohorts, and provide a proactive offer running at the same time as current eligible vaccine offer:
- Vaccination bus with dedicated vaccine team, with data and local intel being analysed to inform where to site facility
- Pop up facility in a community venue ie churches or community centres.
- Roving vaccination team delivering into specific areas and settings
Here is a reminder of the really useful link for the NHS Leeds website information about vaccinations, where there are some great resources for you to share locally.
Expansion of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) Group: Earlier in the week, the Government announced the expansion of the CEV Group, totalling 1.7 million people nationally. We await full details of our local implications as these are being notified in two groups, some this week and some next week.
New additions are being notified this week and we are doing as much local communications as possible. This group is largely made up of people whose combination of factors give them an equivalent risk to those already identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. This is based on validated and updated evidence of the factors involved for those who have had severe illness and those who have died.
Newly identified CEV’s are expected to receive the same level of support from councils as existing CEV’s – and the same level of funding to councils from MHCLG will continue – of £14.60 per CEV per 4 week period. The Shielding Bronze group continues to work with our NHS and third sector partners. A rapid plan is being stood up to ensure that those newly added to the list have immediate access to information and support to enable them to understand why their risk has been reassessed, what they are being advised to do and what help is available to them. Here is the link for anyone who needs support whilst they are shielding.
The expansion of this group will also impact on delivery of services, which we will be assessing as the information comes through, and will keep you posted.
Economic briefing note: The regular fortnightly briefing note is attached. It gives an overview of economic headlines, including:
- The fall of GDP by 9.9% in 2020. However, this comes after the news that GDP rose in Q4 by 1%, and in Q£ by 16.1%. It notes that the UK has likely avoided recession. GDP measurement for this current lockdown are yet to be measured and so the impact is unknown.
- Y&H’s economy shrank by more than 20% during the first lockdown. It is believed this cost the region £8 billion, from April – June.
- The £51 billion worth of funding next year for councils. This is an increase of £2.3 billion on this year.
- WYCA’s Investment Committee approval to progress eight schemes aimed at bolstering recovery, totalling more than £140 million.
- The approved plans to expand Leeds Bradford Airport by building a new terminal.
- Leeds Trinity University has now signed up over 100 employers and 500 learners to the Centre of Apprenticeships, Work-based Learning and Skills.
The ONS has released a presentational framework for the headline measures of Public Sector Finance Statistics (net borrowing net cash requirement and net debt) which is explained in this release. The UK Labour market economic analysis for Covid-related redundancies can be found here.
Covid scams: As well as scam emails offering vaccines, it is being reported that people are receiving emails around finance and Council Tax Reduction from, what appears to be, Gov.uk email sources. A reminder that any email claiming to be from HMRC, or with links to HMRC, will almost certainly be a scam. HMRC have a policy of only writing to individuals inviting you to their website.
National developments: These continue at a rapid pace, including
- The Government has announced £18.5 million through research to tackle long Covid.
- The Government has introduced a number of new accessibility improvements to the home testing programme to make it easier to get tested. Improves include ordering a test by calling 119, a partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to improve home tests for the visually impaired and a video call support service with specially trained Test and Trace staff.
- Guidance has been published by the DHSC on the designated settings scheme for people discharged into care homes with a positive coronavirus test.
- Social media platforms and celebrities have teamed up with government and the NHS to launch new graphics to show support for vaccine roll-out.
- Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI published results from the latest significant study into Covid infections in England.
- MHCLG has updated its guidance page for local authorities during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance includes updated publications and sections for housing, public health, LG finance and funding, education, social care and testing.
- The Government have announced it will publish a range of tax consultations and calls for evidence at the end of March. Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances. The final report of the government’s fundamental review of business rates will now be published in the Autumn.
- The Prime Minister will call on world leaders to back efforts to speed up the development of new vaccines, treatments and tests at a G7 meeting.
- 22 heritage organisations and 33 independent cinemas are the latest to receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund.
- For your information, the weekly national influenza and Covid report has been published, which monitors infection activity. The Government have also announced the median distance travelled for a PCR test is just 1.9 miles, a record for the service, while 86.9% of cases, and 93.6% of their contacts, are reached this reporting week.
I know it is hard to keep pushing these messages and people are understandably finding it tough and missing their family and friends. However, we need to do all we can to push these messages, encourage people to take up the vaccination and signpost people to support where needed, including encouraging that continued approach to being neighbourly.