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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Adult social care sector coronavirus weekly report

Overall Picture for BCP and Dorset Council areas in relation to COVID-19: 7 December 2020

We have continued to see a decline in case numbers and in seven days case rates for both BCP and Dorset Councils, although this appears to have levelled out in recent days.

We are also starting to see a decline in the number of patients in hospital with COVID-19, although there are still pressures in the healthcare system due to the time of year and inability to discharge people to care homes within 30 days.

The infection rate for the period 1 December to 7 December is:

  • 63 per 100,000 in BCP
  • 42 per 100,000 in Dorset Council

We are closely monitoring the infection rate in the over 60s age category as this is one of the factors strongly linked with increases in pressure on our health and care system, and in the review of risk level and current Tier of COVID-19 measures.

For people aged over 60, the numbers are:

  • 43 per 100,000 in BCP 
  • 30 per 100,000 in Dorset Council

Current situation:

  • There are 96 patients with COVID-19 in Dorset hospitals.
  • In the 7 days to 3rd December, three incidents were reported in the care sector, and one in health care settings.
  • 51 out of 281 care homes have open situations, down from last week.

Advice on care home visiting

Our local care home policy has been in place since July 2020, and the Health Protection Board reviews this each week.

You can read the current government guidance for care home visiting in Tier 2 areas.

If you are looking ahead to the Christmas period of 23 December to 27 December, you can read the Christmas bubble guidance for care home residents.

Dorset Council and BCP Council press release

We have issued a press release to local media in order to raise awareness of the local situation regarding lateral flow testing and visiting care homes.

Kindness is key in keeping your loved ones safe

Dorset Council, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council and health partners are working with care providers across Dorset following the announcement that visiting relatives in residential care homes would be able to resume in time for Christmas.

Following updated guidance issued by the government this week, families are keen to visit their loved ones after what, for some, will be the first time in months. Dorset care homes have been adhering to strict infection control measures throughout the pandemic and as a result of this we have not seen the numbers of COVID-19 cases in care homes that other areas of the country have experienced. This is testament to the hard work that has gone on across the system to keep residents and staff safe.

Any new guidance takes time to implement in a safe and responsible way and unlike pilot areas in neighbouring counties, care homes across the BCP and Dorset areas are only just starting to receive the Lateral Flow Testing equipment. The roll-out of equipment and training will continue over coming weeks.

Although the news this week that a vaccine will be available soon is welcomed right across the UK, the roll-out will take time.

Anna Knight, Chair of the Dorset Care Homes Association said:

“We know this has been a tough year and families are missing their loved ones terribly, but the fewer people coming in and out of care homes, the less the risk of transmission of this terrible virus.

We all need to be kind to each other to make sure that residents and staff in care settings are kept safe and this remains the top priority. Please bear with us while we work through the next stages of making sure that families and loved ones can be reunited in a safe and responsible way.”Every care provider in Dorset has their own infection control polices, risk assessments and measures in place and anyone wishing to visit a loved one, where this is possible, should contact the home to make necessary arrangements."

Day care and day opportunity services

Services are operating in Covid secure ways and the Health Protection Board reviews advice on these services each week.

There is no change to current advice and day services can continue to remain open as long as they operate in a COVID-19 safe way.

Key messages for the Adult Social Care sector for this week

NHS update on Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme

We are embarking on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dorset. This is a phased programme being rolled-out nationally. The initial phase will be directed at those people most at risk.

As part of this, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is starting to vaccinate care home staff this week.

At present, the number of vaccinations we can provide per day is limited. We expect to be able to offer more appointments in the coming weeks.

We are working with care providers representatives to ensure we can make the vaccination process of care home staff and residents as effective and appropriate as it can be across BCP and Dorset.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation at a national level.

The NHS will contact those who have been identified as a priority to be offered the vaccine first. We request you not to contact your local hospital, GP surgery or other NHS services as they are very busy getting set up and delivering the vaccine.

We would like to thank everyone who has attended their vaccination so far in the last few days, and for bringing their documents with them. It has really helped the vaccination team.

If you are given an appointment, please make sure you attend it. If you cannot attend, please inform the team so that the appointment can be given to someone else.

We will share more information with you as it becomes available.

You can read about the vaccination programme on the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group website.

A letter to local authorities, directors of adult social services and managers of care homes has been published from Helen Whately, Minister for Care.

This outlines:

  • plans for getting the first vaccine to care home staff
  • the role of local authorities, NHS and local care providers in planning this roll-out
  • the steps care home managers should take in preparation

These arrangements will be further developed when the National Booking System when vaccination becomes available. Initially, local booking systems will be in place with hospital hubs.

You can find a number of useful vaccination programme documents on the COVID-19 vaccination programme page on the Gov.uk website.

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health

Vivienne Broadhurst, Executive Director of Adults Social Care, Dorset Council

Jan Thurgood, Corporate Director of Adult Social Care, BCP Council

Overall Picture for BCP and Dorset Council areas in relation to COVID-19  w/c 30th November 2020

Both BCP and Dorset have been placed under Tier 2 under the government allocations for post-lockdown. Several indicators are considered in this decision, with government rationale being the over 60 case rate in BCP, positivity rate and daily hospital admissions for Dorset STP.

  • case numbers have continued to fall now that restrictions are taking effect.
  • the current rate as at 26th November is 95/100k in BCP, 43/100k in Dorset Council), these rates have fallen significantly.
  • hospital admissions have stabilised, currently there are 114 patients with COVID-19 in Dorset hospitals.
  • in the 7 days to 26th November 2020 there were 12 incidents reported in the care sector, and 5 in health care settings.  70 out of 281 care homes (25%) are closed to admissions due to one or more Covid cases.

Advice on Care Home Visiting

Our local care home policy has been in place since July 2020, and the Health Protection Board reviews this each week

The current government guidance for care home visiting in Tier 2 areas can be found here  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-2-high-alert#visiting-relatives-in-care-homes

and looking ahead to the Christmas period of 23-27 December 2020,

the guidance for care home residents can be found here  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family#if-you-are-a-care-home-resident

 whilst the DHSC press release is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/care-home-residents-to-be-reunited-with-families-by-christmas

Day Care and Day Opportunity Services

Services are operating in Covid secure ways and the Health Protection Board reviews advice on these services each week.

There is no change to current advice and day services can continue to remain open as long as they operate in a COVID 19 safe way.

Sam Crowe Director of Public Health

Vivienne Broadhurst Executive Director – Adults Dorset Council

Jan Thurgood Corporate Director of Adult Social Care BCP Council

Overall Picture for BCP and Dorset Council areas in relation to COVID-19  23.11.20

Case numbers have started to fall now that restrictions are starting to take effect. We continue to see most cases in our 16 to 29 year olds, however rates have increased in the over 60s which is a concern. This is more evident in the BCP council area than Dorset council area.

The current rate as at 19 November is:

  • BCP Council: 173 cases per 100,000 population
  • Dorset Council: 87 per 100,000 population

Hospital admissions have risen again. Currently there are 144 patients with COVID-19 in Dorset hospitals.

In the 7 days to 19 November, there were 22 incidents reported in the care sector and 5 in health care settings.

92 out of 281 care homes (33%) are closed to admissions due to one or more COVID-19 cases.

The government has just announced the tiers and restrictions that will be in place from 2 December. Both Dorset and BCP Council areas will be in Tier 2. This recognises that although infection rates are coming down, they are just one of several measures considered. We need to do all we can to limit infection in older age groups, as we are seeing increasing cases of COVID-19 in our care home residents and hospitals. It remains vitally important not to mix socially with other households outside of work places, as this continues to be an important factor in local spread.

Advice on care home visiting

Our local care home visiting policy has been in place since July 2020 and the Health Protection Board reviews this each week. There is no change to the current government guidance on visiting carehomes during the 4 week lockdown.

Day care and day opportunity services

Services are operating in COVID secure ways and Health Protection Board reviews advice on these services each week. There is no change to current advice and day services can continue to remain open as long as they operate in a COVID 19 safe way.

Key messages for the Adult Social Care sector for this week

On Friday the Minister for Social Care announced that all registered homecare workers (domiciliary care workers) would have access to regular weekly asymptomatic coronavirus testing via NHS Test and Trace from Monday 23 November. Read the full announcement on GOV.UK.

As a homecare agency, you will be able to apply for a month’s supply of weekly asymptomatic coronavirus testing for your homecare workers from Monday 23 November. You will then be able to reapply every 28 days for more test kits for your homecare workers.

A reminder that, with the Infection Control Grant having been extended until end March 2021, one of the expectations is that it can be used to provide sick pay to staff who have COVID-19 or who are required to self-isolate. This is an important area in the recruitment and retention of staff and we would encourage you to use the grant for this purpose, should the need arise.

As we approach the Christmas and New Year period please make sure that you have thought about your PPE requirements and ordered enough through your usual supply routes to cover your needs over this time. Both councils will continue to offer emergency supplies where needed.

Sam Crowe Director of Public Health

Vivienne Broadhurst Executive Director – Adults Dorset Council

Jan Thurgood Corporate Director of Adult Social Care BCP Council

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