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) During the previous week over 100 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued, mainly for gatherings and parties of over 15 people in residential settings. There were also a few fines relating to commercial premises.
b) Some gatherings in public places have also been seen, although these have mostly been households out together. Additional officers have been deployed to engage and give advice and guidance about dispersing. If people do not comply then a fixed penalty notice will be issued as a last resort.
c) The Police continue to work jointly with Environmental Health to advise business premises but most now understand how to ensure their arrangements are Covid-secure and there is generally good compliance.
d) The Police are working with the two universities as student start to return and this includes joint patrols and a joint letter to those living in university halls. There has largely been a good level of compliance.
e) People can continue to report issues to the 101 number or online and these will be responded to accordingly.
f) From 29 March it is anticipated that two households or up to six people from different households will be able to meet outdoors. There are plans to adapt the policing response as the ‘roadmap’ progresses.
g) It is anticipated that there will be challenging times ahead and lessons from the previous lockdown easing are being taken on board. The existence of the ‘roadmap’ gives some certainty and therefore helps to plan resourcing. There are a number of events planned for the summer e.g. Splendour that will need to be managed.
Paul Dales, Chief Environmental Health Officer Nottingham City Council, gave an update on the Environmental Health Team’s engagement with businesses. He highlighted the following information:
h) The Environmental Health Team is working with the Police, Community Protection Officers and Trading Standards in both the City and County to ensure a consistent and joined up approach to planning for businesses reopening in line with the ‘roadmap’.
i) There will be a focus on the highest risk areas through both a proactive and reactive approach.
j) Initial liaison has taken place with City Centre businesses through groups such as PubWatch, the Business Improvement District and City Centre Managers to look at ensuring safety for both customers and employees.
k) Businesses appear to be more informed than previously and it is intended to build on this with an expectation of immediate compliance.
l) There are powers enabling formal enforcement action to be taken if necessary.
Amanda Sullivan, Chief Officer Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, gave an update from a health perspective. She highlighted the following information:
m) There continue to be reductions in the number of hospital admissions, beds occupied and deaths associated with Covid-19. For the first time since October there are fewer people in hospital than at the peak in April.
n) There were 83 hospital admissions related to Covid-19 in the seven days to 7 March. This compared to 153 admissions in the previous seven days.
o) On 9 March there were 274 beds occupied by people with cases related to Covid-19. Of these 13% required mechanical ventilation.
p) Between 4-10 March there were 18 deaths related to Covid-19, which compared to 32 in the previous week.
q) Over 376,660 vaccinations have been administered and it is anticipated that the rate of vaccination will accelerate in coming weeks. Bookings are now being taken for people over 55 years.
The Board commented that it was reassuring that pressures on hospitals and health systems were continuing to reduce.
Nick Lee, Director of Education Nottingham City Council gave an update on issues relating to schools and education. He highlighted the following information:
r) There has been a positive response from schools about the reopening of schools for all pupils from 8 March and the majority of pupils, parents and staff are pleased to be back in physical buildings.
s) Schools have been asked to notify of any issues e.g. with social distancing but nothing has been reported so far.
t) 75 of 118 schools are reporting on their attendance levels. On 11 March there was an overall attendance rate of 87% but it should be noted that some schools were operating a phased return. This compares to an attendance rate for a typical day of 94-96%.
u) All secondary and special schools have on-site testing arrangements in place. Some schools commenced testing in the previous week. However, schools are reporting low levels of parental consent for testing so this is being monitored especially given that testing will move to the home setting.
v) On 10 March there were 9 secondary school pupils, attending 5 different schools who tested positive in the lateral flow testing and a further 3 tested positive following symptomatic testing. In total, 33 pupils across 6 city schools were self-isolating either as a result of a positive test or close contact with someone who had a positive test.
w) On 11 March 5 primary schools reported new cases leading to an additional 225 children and 20 staff having to self-isolate due to the closure of 7 class bubbles.
x) There is a need to think about the messaging to encourage households with school aged children to get tested, which would mean that only children with a positive test would need to be out of school.
y) Schools are increasingly experienced at identifying ‘close contact’ and work is taking place to support schools in taking a more targeted approach to identifying close contacts, and therefore those who need to self-isolate, especially at Key Stage 2 level. This is more difficult for Key Stage 1 pupils, where social distancing is more challenging.
During subsequent discussion the following points were made:
z) Asymptomatic testing at schools cannot be enforced but through communication and peer support parents are being encouraged to give consent for their child to be tested. The position will continue to be monitored and more targeted work, especially in areas of particularly low consent, may be undertaken.
aa)Learning from the first few days of testing will be used to identify what works well to share with other schools.