Please see below your Covid-19 updates from the last few days.
We are raising serious questions in relation to the schools and nurseries proposing to open on Monday 15th. Our primary concern is of course the wellbeing of children, young people, parents, guardians and educators. In a letter to the Director of Public Health, Director of Children’s Services and the Chair of the Children’s committee, I have asked where the scientific rationale is for the action; if we have the speedy response infrastructure in place, like in France; if evidence emerges that this approach has been a mistake, how quickly can the city council revert; what information- if any- is being shared with the city council or the Local Resilience Forum (basically all the statutory authorities) to provide a fuller picture to safely educate. We are asking about timing and how confident the city council is that the testing regime is as robust as is needed to effectively and comprehensively test, trace and isolate. We are also raising precedent, wary that the move appears to ‘normalise’ behaviour that may potentially increase the spread of the disease among families and educators. Needless to say, we will keep you posted with updates.
Local businesses grants
We have already been in contact with a number of you but there’s more information about the discretionary grants fund- £3.7 million and three levels of grants. Flyer attached. We will be approaching the outstanding businesses in our area which haven’t applied and if you know of a business that you believe may be eligible, get in touch and we will try our best to get them some of this grant funding.
Supporting the city to recover
We have worked hard on trying to get the city to recover well and have welcomed what we have understand of the proposals to help local businesses and help safe outdoor exercise, cycling, walking. We have been pursuing a number of queries for you on shops that have not been practising safe distancing and environmental health have approached a number of businesses not adhering to safe practices. There’s now advice for retailers provided too.
The proposal is to introduce a consolidated Beach Lifeguard service from tomorrow (Saturday 13 June) until Sunday 6 September. Initially there will be two lifeguarded bathing areas located on the central beach in Brighton and another in Hove (See enclosed map). An initial group of 29 seasonal Beach Lifeguards have been recruited who have commenced their induction process. A further 15 Lifeguards will undertake an induction process in the near future. More information attached.
Work on anti-social behaviour
We have been working very closely with Sussex Police and the council officers on helping report and effectively deal with anti-social behaviour. Please continue to report using email@example.com and cc the PCSO Amy.Green@sussex.pnn.police.uk and ourselves in. Please also find updated reporting guide attached.
Healthwatch updates further below too with information about access to health services. We have a lot more information should you need it.
We are here to help if we can. PLEASE continue to practice safe social distancing, and stay safe.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Leader of the Official Opposition
Green Party Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide, Brighton and Hove City Council
Opposition Spokesperson on the Policy and Resources Committee
Member of the Tourism Development and Culture Committee and Planning Committee
Greater Brighton Economic Board, Strategic Delivery Board, Board of Trustees Brighton Dome & Festival Limited, Representative to the Local Government Association
Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ
Ward surgeries at 7.15pm on last Weds of every month at the Cornerstone Community Centre, Palmeira Square (except August and December)
Subject: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
Date: 4.45pm Wednesday 10 June 2020
Briefing number: 60
Queries about this briefing can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Update about schools and early years
This briefing provides an update on the council’s position on opening schools and early years settings to more children and young people.
The council has today advised that Brighton & Hove schools and council nurseries should start opening more widely from Monday 15 June.
The priority now is for a phased return for the years previously identified by the government. Infant and primary schools are asked to take in nursery years, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. Secondary schools are asked to provide face to face support for young people in Year 10 and 12 during this summer term.
Our previous position that reopening to more pupils should not take place was based on advice from the council’s Public Health team that there was not reasonable assurance that all the government’s five tests were met locally, in particular around the Test and Trace programme.
Over the last ten days, the council’s Public Health team has been closely monitoring the progress of the Test and Trace programme and how this is working in Brighton & Hove. Our Public Health colleagues now have sufficient reassurance that this service is in place to test anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus and trace their close contacts.
This situation is continuing to develop and is under constant review.
Pupils in the priority age groups are expected to return in a gradual way, with numbers being different from school to school. Individual school risk assessments will inform how best to manage this. Control measures are also in place in case of outbreaks, which will be managed working with the Public Health England Health Protection team for Sussex and Surrey.
Parents and carers can decide whether to send their children back in. While we would like to see as many pupils as possible back in schools, individual family choices will be respected and no fines will be issued for non-attendance this term.
We recognise that schools and early years settings have been open throughout the pandemic, including the school holidays. Childcare has been provided for children of keyworkers and for vulnerable children, including SEND pupils, since schools closed to most pupils at the end of March. The system in place to support this small number of children attending school is well established and will continue.
We encourage schools and council run nurseries to follow our latest advice. We would like to be clear that the final decision on whether to open an individual school lies with the head teacher, in consultation with their governing board.
Non-council early years settings can make their own decisions based on their risk assessments. Some early years settings have already opened to more children.
Sharing the news
Headteachers were updated on the latest position by Deb Austin, Interim Executive Director of Families, Children and Learning.
A letter has also been sent out through schools to all parents and carers.
Back in March government restrictions which came into force which saw schools and early years providers close for almost all children.
The council has been working closely with headteachers and early years providers across the city during the current pandemic.
Last month the government asked schools and early years providers to prepare to open to more children at the start of June.
Here are our responses to the government’s announcement:
- Safety first approach (15 May)
- Letter to parents and carers (18 May)
- Statement advising schools not to open (29 May)
- Update on advising schools not to open (4 June)
(B) Health and Social care updates
(1) COVID in care homes. Recent reports have shown that nearly 40% of all care homes in Brighton and Hove have reported outbreaks of the coronavirus. Similar levels have also been reported across England (see national data for the weekly number and percentage of care homes reporting a suspected or confirmed outbreak of COVID-19).
This week the government announced that every care home in England will now be offered a coronavirus test for all residents and staff, even if they have no symptoms. Previously, whole care home testing was offered only to homes for the over-65s and those with dementia.
(2) Updated guidance for people in receipt of direct payments during COVID-19. The government has updated its guidance which provides advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support.
(3) Data has been published showing the social impacts on disabled people in Britain (14 May to 24 May 2020). You can access this data by clicking here. The data reveals that disabled people are more likely to be ‘very worried’ about the impacts which the coronavirus is having on their lives. Disabled people are three times more likely than non-disabled people to say that their health had been impacted and twice as likely to say that access to healthcare and treatment for non-coronavirus (COVID-19) related issues is being affected.
(4) NHS test and trace statistics (England): 28 May to 3 June 2020)
Early data complied about the NHS contact tracing has been published. The scheme went live on 28th May. Between 28th May and 3rd June 2020:
● 8,117 people who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) had their case
transferred to the contact tracing system, of whom 5,407 were asked to provide details of recent contacts.
● 31,794 contacts were identified.
● Of these 26,985 were reached and advised to self-isolate.
The government has said that some people who tested positive could not be reached either because their contact details were unavailable or incorrect or they did not respond to attempts to get in touch. There is more work to do to make sure everyone can be reached.
The government has announced that local authorities can apply for a test and trace grant to help them make plans for local outbreaks of coronavirus.
If you want to learn more about how track and trace works, please click here.
(C) Local COVID updates
(1) Avoid track and trace scams
The Police and Trading Standards are concerned that fraudsters may try and exploit this new system and get people to click on links or pass over information they shouldn’t. The information below will help you make sure you are in contact with the right people.
Genuine Contact Tracers will initially contact you by sending a text messages from ‘NHS’, calling you from 0300 013 5000 or by e-mail.
They will ask:
– That you sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website seen here: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk
– Your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating.
– About the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing.
– You to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the two days prior to your symptoms starting.
– If anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England.
They will never:
– Try and get you to dial a premium rate (09 or 087) number to speak to them.
– Ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind.
– Try and get you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else.
– Ask you to access any website other than this one https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk
– Try and get any details about your bank account.
– Ask you for any passwords or PINs.
– Try and get you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone.
– Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts.
– Offer any medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms.
If you suffer from fraud as the result of any such scams then please do report to Action Fraud using the link here: Action Fraud website
The National Cyber Security Centre is also keen to have phishing attacks that people receive forwarded to them via the e-mail address here: email@example.com
(2) Local data on COVID
As at 11 June, there are 473 (452 last week) confirmed cases in Brighton and Hove, out of a local population of 290,885; and 144 (136 last week) coronavirus-related deaths up to the 29 May. In this area 21% of all deaths involved coronavirus between 29 Feb and 29 May. (NB: Cases only include people who have had a positive test for the virus. Not everyone with the virus will have had a test. Deaths include any death where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. Death data updated weekly; cases updated daily).
This link provides data on the Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
The Office for National Statistics is publishing a wide range of data. This link will enable you to enter your postcode and see the number of confirmed deaths in your area (scroll down to Section 6: Middle Layer Super output Areas).
(D) Government COVID updates
You can click this link to access Slides and datasets to accompany last night’s coronavirus press conference (11 June).
(1) COVID-19 data and testing
There is some evidence that the number of people in England testing positive has decreased in recent weeks. Data produced by the Office for National Statistics shows that during the two weeks from 17 May to 30 May 2020, an average of 53,000 people in England had the coronavirus.
For up-to-date numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK, click here
The reproduction number (R) is the average number of secondary infections produced by 1 infected person. The R number range for the UK is currently estimated to be between 0.7-0.9 as of 5 June 2020.
This link to the government website explains all you need to know about how to get a test.
And to find out more about the government’s test and trace programme and what you need to do, click here
(2) Government announcements
The current situation means that new guidance is being issued daily. Below we have provided links to some announcements which may be of interest.
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.
Places of worship to re-open for individual prayer. From Monday 15 June places of worship will be permitted to open for individual prayer in line with social distancing guidelines.
More PPE supplies. Millions more visors, aprons and gowns will be delivered to frontline health and social care workers treating coronavirus patients, manufactured in response to the UK government’s call to arms.
In addition, Healthcare providers can order additional personal protective equipment (PPE) through the portal to top up their existing supplies for COVID-19 in an emergency
NHS volunteers extend support to frontline health and social care staff
Frontline health and care staff will be able to access support from the hundreds of thousands of NHS volunteer responder
(1) Quit for COVID
There has never been a more important time to quit smoking than right now. People who smoke may be more likely to suffer from a serious respiratory infection than non-smokers if they get COVID-19. Smoking tobacco damages the lungs, weakens the immune system and causes a range of severe respiratory problems.
As well as reducing the risks from COVID-19, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and breathing, reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. There are financial benefits too.
Get support to quit
Many smokers try several times before they succeed but getting the right support and using stop smoking aids gives you a much better chance of success.
· Download the NHS Smokefree app to find local support or create a personalised quit plan.
· Get advice from experts and hear other people’s quitting stories from Today is the Day.
The following Healthwatch COVID-19 guides are available (these are being regularly updated):
Top tips for staying active and looking after your mental health.
Guides which provide information about:
– visiting a dentist