a) Nottinghamshire Police
b) Environmental Health
Steven Cooper, 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) Since 15 January, 269 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been issued. There have been 8 repeat offenders and some venues/ events with multiple people receiving FPNs.
b) Since the last meeting, a fine of £800 has been introduced for people attending gatherings of 15 or more people, and a number of these fines have been issued. The most high-profile gathering was at Castle Boulevard, when 21 fines were issued.
c) There has been a slight increase in calls regarding Covid incidents but they remain small in number. The Police have been responding to these calls with colleagues from Trading Standards and Environmental Health Teams as appropriate.
d) The Police have also been providing a response to medical settings when required e.g. the Police recently responded to an incident of a violent patient with Covid-19 at Queens Medical Centre.
e) There continues to be low staff absence rates so the Service still has flexibility to deal with normal business and respond to requirements of the pandemic as part of Operation Bion.
During subsequent discussion the following points were made:
f) The Border Force has primary responsibility for ensuring individuals comply with the requirement to self-isolate following foreign travel. However, if they have been unable to check on individuals, for example because the contact details they have for them are incorrect, then the Police carry out checks to make sure individuals are complying. This activity can range from 2-35 checks per day, and generally very few breaches and attempts to avoid checks have been found.
g) The Force does have drone capability but it has not been deployed in relation to the pandemic.
h) The Police have a protocol for dealing with situations when they are required to enter homes or have close contact with individuals and this follows advice from Public Health England. If officers are likely to be closer to individuals than 2metres then they wear masks, and additional personal protective equipment is available depending upon the situation. Staff have been trained in the requirements and there is plenty of equipment available.
i) Police officers are not in the highest priority cohorts for vaccination and this is understandable. However, if having first made it available to health and social care staff, if there is spare vaccine available that would otherwise be wasted, some officers have been invited to get vaccinated.
Paul Dales, Chief Environmental Health Officer Nottingham City Council, gave an update on the work of the Environmental Health Team. He highlighted the following information:
j) The Team has been supporting investigations into outbreaks in workplaces such as day nurseries, manufacturing businesses, call centres and hotels to review risk assessments, identify any issues etc. Businesses are often making good efforts to comply but typical issues identified include lack of social distancing, car sharing, small businesses with a number of employees from the same household.
k) The Team has also continued to respond to complaints about business compliance, complaints about whether businesses should be open and complaints from workers about safety compliance; give advice to businesses about compliance standards and methods; and implementation of the supermarket Covid-compliance inspections project.
l) So far audits of 50 supermarkets and 185 independent outlets have been carried out.
m) 12 mini-markets have been found to have significant levels of non-compliance and were referred to Environmental Health Officers for the next level of intervention. 96 mini-markets were found to have some minor non-compliance and the audits were followed up by a visit from a Community Protection Officer. The main issues were a lack of hand sanitiser, not having maximum capacity calculations and a lack of signage and floor markings. Issues with challenging customers for not wearing face coverings were also identified.
n) Most major supermarkets were found to be predominately compliant and feedback has been given to the relevant Head Office and Primary Authority for that business.
During subsequent discussion the following points were made:
o) It is easier for businesses to know whether staff have a genuine exemption from wearing a face covering than customers. Many staff unable to wear face coverings are able to wear face visors instead.
p) All opportunities are taken to encourage staff to wear face coverings, for example during food safety inspections.
q) There is an expectation that both drivers and customers wear face coverings in taxis and there is generally fairly good compliance, especially from taxi drivers who are often self-employed and have a greater interest in protecting themselves. The screens in hackney carriages offer additional protection, and people are encouraged to travel with windows open to allow ventilation.
r) The Team works with the Business Grants Teams, e.g. by sharing databases, to enable as smooth a process for accessing grants as possible. Weekly meetings are held across the teams to share information.
s) It was suggested that during compliance checks, colleagues should remind business owners and employees about the availability of asymptomatic testing for businesses and the community.
Amanda Sullivan, Chief Officer Nottingham and Nottingham Clinical Commissioning Group, gave an update from a health perspective. She highlighted the following information:
t) The level of hospital admissions is beginning to reduce but, in line with the reduction in infection rates, this reduction is slow. There is still more than double the number of people in hospitals than during the first wave of the pandemic.
u) In the seven days to 31 January, there were 342 hospital admissions compared with 367 in the previous seven days.
v) As of 2 February, 668 beds were occupied compared with 749 on 26 January.
w) 10% of patients currently need mechanical ventilation.
x) Between 26 January and 3 February there were 100 hospital deaths.
y) GPs continue to see high volumes of patients and GPs are also supporting the vaccination programme.
z) Community services are working well to keep people at home where possible and support discharge from hospital.
aa)Planned hospital procedures are continuing but there continues to be a need to prioritise emergency and critical procedures.
bb)There is still pressure but it is decreasing slowly and the system is working well.