Agenda and draft minutes

Outbreak Control Engagement Board
Wednesday, 12th May, 2021 11.30 am

Venue: Remote - To be held remotely via Zoom - https://www.youtube.com/user/NottCityCouncil. View directions

Contact: Jane Garrard  Senior Governance Officer

Items
No. Item

230.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Ruby Bhattal – Steve Thorne attended as a substitute

Steven Cooper – Mat Healy attended as a substitute

Councillor Neghat Khan

Sara Storey

Councillor Adele Williams

231.

Declarations of Interests for agenda items 3 - 7

Minutes:

None

232.

Public Minutes pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the public part of the meeting held on 16 April 2021

Minutes:

The Board approved the minutes of the public section of the meeting held on 16 April 2021.

233.

Nottingham's Outbreak Management Plan update

Minutes:

David Johns, Interim Director of Public Health Nottingham City Council, gave an update on Nottingham’s Outbreak Control Plan, highlighting the following information:

 

a)  There were 102 cases in the last seven days, which is a rate of 32.1 per 100,000 population.

 

b)  The current rate is a slight increase compared to the previous seven days, which had a rate of 28.2 per 100,000 population, and is slightly higher than the England average of 21.5 per 100,000 population.

 

c)  The rate amongst those aged over 60 years is really positive.  There were four cases in the previous seven days which is a rate of 7.7 per 100,000 population.

 

d)  It is anticipated that there will be a slight rise in cases over the next few days, but this is a rise compared to a previously low rate.  Since April there have been consistently low rates in the City, but current fluctuations will be monitored closely.

 

e)  There is a similar distribution of cases across age groups for all cases and in those cases during April and May 2021, except for a lower proportion of cases amongst over 60s during April and May 2021.

 

f)  There has recently been information in local media about the identification of a variant of concern in Nottingham.  A variant first identified in India was classified as a variant of concern last week and some cases have been identified in Nottingham.  The variant appears to be transmitted more easily but does not result on greater severity of illness or appear to circumvent vaccine immunity.

 

g)  Plans for responding to variants of concern were discussed at the last Board meeting and the City was in a good position to stand up surge testing arrangements quickly.  The City was notified of cases at the end of last week and, following a significant effort by partners, testing commenced on 10 May.

 

h)  Surge testing is taking place in targeted parts of the City to quickly identify cases and minimise onwards transmission.  So far over 600 people have been tested, which is a great response.

 

i)  Those individuals who have not been invited to be tested are still encouraged to support efforts to minimise transmission by following the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ guidance, participate in asymptomatic testing and get vaccinated when invited to do so.

 

j)  Regular meetings are held with Public Health England about sequenced cases.  It is anticipated that results will be come through today or tomorrow giving an early indication on the number of positive cases, and plans will be adjusted accordingly.

 

k)  Further easing of restrictions is due to take place in 17 May, in line with Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap.  Citizens are encouraged to still be cautious by, for example, participating in asymptomatic testing.

 

The Board commented that it was good that plans were in place to enable surge testing to be put in place quickly in response to identification of cases of a variant of concern in the City.

234.

Universities' student return arrangements

Minutes:

Nigel Wright, Nottingham Trent University, and Jason Carter, University of Nottingham, gave an update on arrangements for the return of students to university.  They highlighted the following information:

 

a)  From 17 May 2021 universities can resume some in-person teaching.  However, this will be limited because, by this stage of the academic year, most teaching has been completed and students are prepared for assessment.  This year arrangements have been put in place for assessments to take place online.

 

b)  Quite a few students have already returned to the City so it is not anticipated that there will be a further significant number returning this weekend.  Testing has been, and continues to be offered to all students returning to university and generally there is a good compliance rate.  Testing will continue throughout the term. 

 

c)  There is regular communication with students about complying with Government guidelines, getting tested regularly and engaging with the vaccination programme when eligible.  Communication is also taking place about engaging with local businesses now that retail and hospitality sectors are opening up.

 

d)  In line with Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap, plans are in place to reopen more facilities on campus in accordance with Regulations and students will be encouraged to make use of these facilities.

 

e)  The University of Nottingham’s student halls pilot started last week.  Progress will be reviewed next week to decide if it will continue for the rest of the term.  If it is successful then it is hoped to continue it next academic year as it potentially has benefits for the student experience and in controlling outbreaks.  Although it has different accommodation arrangements, Nottingham Trent University is watching the pilot to identify any lessons that it can learn.  The Department for Education is also interested in the findings as they could be applied to other universities across the country.

 

In response to questions from the Nottinghamshire Police representative, it was confirmed that the two universities will continue to communicate with their students about compliance with Regulations, for example in relation to hosting and attending large gatherings and parties.  The universities will not be holding large end of year events but are providing guidance about ad hoc events that may be arranged by others.  In many cases it would be preferable for students to celebrate at hospitality premises because they should have Covid-19 safe arrangements in place.

235.

Local Covid-19 Vaccination Plan update

Minutes:

An update on the local Covid-19 Vaccination Plan was provided under agenda item 7 (Board Member update from the NHS).

236.

Board Member updates

a)  Nottinghamshire Police

b)  Environmental Health

c)  NHS

Minutes:

Mat Healy, Nottinghamshire Police, gave an update on the work of the Police in the City since the last Board meeting.  He highlighted the following information:

 

a)  107 fixed penalty notices have been issued across the Force since the last meeting, 75 of which were issued in the City.  The majority of these related to people attending large gatherings. 

 

b)  Restrictions on hospitality and the night-time economy have been relaxed in accordance with the Government’s Roadmap.  Outdoor hospitality has opened up and a number of premises that would not normally operate outdoor space now have pavement licences.  There is currently a 3000 person capacity for outdoor hospitality in the City.

 

c)  Since the relaxation of restrictions there have generally been good levels of compliance with no significant issues.  The Police are working with Community Protection colleagues on any licensing infringements that do occur.

 

d)  The next stage in easing of restrictions will take place on 17 May, including reopening of indoor hospitality.  This will mean an increase to the outdoor capacity of 3,500 and an indoor capacity of 6,000 people.  Some premises will also be able to operate later than the current time.  Licensing Teams have been in touch with venues in preparation for the changes.

 

e)  In response to the easing of restrictions, Nottinghamshire Police is reinstating full night-time resourcing on Friday and Saturday evenings.  In the City Centre there will also be an ‘early intervention’ shift to ‘meet and greet’ people and gauge numbers out that evening.  Additional neighbourhood officers will also be in place for the first week to support Duty Teams. 

 

f)  Planning is taking place with partners for the further easing of restrictions on 21 June 2021.

 

In response to questions, it was clarified that if members of the public observe what appear to be breaches in Regulations they can report this via the 101 telephone number or online.  If Parks staff observe signs of gatherings in parks and open spaces then they are asked to contact the Community Protection Team as soon as possible because it is easier to deal with potential issues at an early stage.

 

Paul Dales, Chief Environmental Health Officer Nottingham City Council, gave an update on the work of the Environmental Health Team since the last Board meeting.  He highlighted the following information:

 

g)  Preparations have been taking place with partners to work with the business community on the next stage in the easing of restrictions on 17 May.  This has included attending meetings of PubWatch and with members of the Business Improvement District. 

 

h)  Engagement of businesses started with those already open to discuss the changes in restrictions, followed by engaging with those not currently open.  Intelligence, such as cross-referencing data on which businesses have downloaded QR codes is being used to inform the programme of engagement.

 

i)  As it has been throughout the pandemic, the Team’s focus is on informing and protecting through engagement and encouragement, but enforcement is used when necessary.

 

j)  Generally, businesses are working hard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 236.

237.

Exclusion of the public to move into the confidential section of the meeting

Minutes:

The Board agreed to exclude the public to move into the confidential section of the meeting.

238.

Declarations of Interests for agenda items 10 - 14

Minutes:

See Confidential Minutes

239.

Confidential Minutes

To confirm the Minutes of the confidential section of the meeting held on 16 April 2021

Minutes:

See Confidential Minutes

240.

Situational round up

Minutes:

See Confidential Minutes

241.

Universities' student return arrangements

Minutes:

See Confidential Minutes

242.

Lessons learnt from local surge testing practice exercise

Minutes:

See Confidential Minutes

243.

Local Covid-19 Vaccination Plan update

Minutes:

See Confidential Minutes