The UK has been responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) since the end of January 2020. Coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020. The next day, on 12 March, the UK government moved to the ‘delay’ phase of its response. Greater Manchester declared a major incident on 20 March.
It has been just over a year since Salford’s first case of COVID-19. We know that throughout this time, some of our communities have felt the impact of coronavirus more than others. COVID-19 has exposed existing disparities and exacerbated historical inequalities – including the vulnerabilities of older people and care home residents, of BAME staff, volunteers and communities, and the impact on families, young people and children, and on livelihoods.
The Spirit of Salford Helpline was established in the very first days of the pandemic and coordinates our humanitarian support to vulnerable people across the city, including where necessary to provide local support to those on the government’s shielded list. We have reviewed the helpline to ensure the services are responding to the needs of our residents as the impact of the outbreak changes. The helpline will continue to support vulnerable people during the next phase of the pandemic, alongside our core services in the city and the army of volunteers that have come forward to support people in the city.
The pandemic has brought local services even closer together as a whole Salford system. A local response in Salford has been in place since the very early stages of the pandemic from setting up local testing in mid-April 2020 as a partnership across the NHS, the council and with the voluntary sector. Through the Spirit of Salford, partners have come together very quickly in ways we wouldn't have thought possible.
Examples of good practice include the individual risk assessments and health checks for frontline workers – not just at the setting or service level but also for those with different job roles, ethnicity and health conditions. As we move forward, we will be living with COVID, responding to emerging variants and we will draw further on this collaboration.
It is timely now to refresh our COVID-19 Outbreak Management Plan given the recent developments in test and trace and the roll out of the vaccine. Working together with other areas in Greater Manchester, our local systems to test, trace, isolate and vaccinate have become much better prepared and agile. Community testing has and is evolving. We will use the range of testing facilities in the lab for PCR, the rapid antigen (lateral flow device) for mass testing, and additional insights from wastewater testing to understand and break transmission in the city.
In early June 2020, the government asked all upper tier local authorities to put in place a COVID-19 outbreak management plan, explaining how we will manage the spread of the virus, to minimise its prevalence and the impact of coronavirus within our communities. All areas have refreshed their plans now in 2021.
This plan is Salford’s response - it sets out: the arrangements in place to prevent, control and reduce transmission of the virus; to protect the vulnerable; to prevent increased demand on health care services; and to address health protection, infection control and environmental health associated impacts which will support the city’s social and economic recovery.
Salford’s COVID-19 outbreak management plan sits alongside the Salford emergency response and recovery plan and provides additional clarity on the specific additional measures in place given the unprecedented scope and health, social and economic impacts of coronavirus.
Strong collaboration and partnership working sits at the heart of our plan, including collaboration with other local authorities and health partners across Greater Manchester – our local Salford plan sits within a framework alongside the GM COVID-19 outbreak management plan, the GM multi-agency outbreak plan, and the GM multi-agency generic response plan – together these set out how GM will support localities in delivering their health protection responsibilities.
Provide an overview of the key proactive and reactive control measures in place across priority and high-risk settings in Salford, including care homes, schools, businesses, locations, places and communities.
Set out in sections three and four of the plan, we have developed setting specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) to support our end-to-end response from safe operating and opening, first reports of suspect symptoms, arranging tests, support for individuals and settings if a positive test result is reported, including health protection and infection control measures, to ongoing support for specific settings and community.
Our approach has been co-designed with sector, organisational and community leaders. At all times and in all settings, risk assessments along with local public health advice are at the core of our response.
Support vulnerable people across the city.
The Spirit of Salford helpline was established in the very first days of the pandemic and co-ordinates our humanitarian support to vulnerable people across the city, including where necessary to provide local support to those on the government’s shielded list. We are reviewing how the helpline will continue to support vulnerable people during the next phase of the pandemic, alongside our core services in the city and the army of volunteers that have come forward to support people in the city. Arrangements are set out in section five of this plan.
Ensure a consistent approach to compliance and enforcement.
Section six sets out our approach to compliance so as to respond to the evolution of COVID regulations, with lockdown easing and tightening over time, by maintaining a consistent style and tone of ‘Engage – Explain – Encourage – Enforce’.
Outline the specific responsibilities of the Director of Public Health, local authority and local partnerships for delivery of local testing arrangements to support this plan, and the interface between these and Greater Manchester and national arrangements and guidance.
Set out in section seven of this plan, we outline how we are making maximum use of local and national testing capacity. Annex One of the plan provides the overview of testing. This will enable the most timely and effective response to potential or suspected outbreaks in the city. Local testing arrangements are in place for NHS, care, education and other critical frontline workers in the city. This will ensure we can maintain critical services for residents as well as reassurance to our workforce. We will continue to support the roll out of rapid testing and appropriate responses to variants.
Set out the timely and responsive testing, contact tracing and consequence management capacity needed to ensure effective delivery of this plan.
Section eight and nine of our plan sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Salford case and consequence management team (CCMT) who are leading in all aspects of test, trace, contain and enable in Salford. The initial contact team from the council’s contact centre staff are skilled in building trust and gathering information from the public. Specialist health protection, infection control and environmental health staff then deal with the case and consequence management providing guidance, advice and support to complex settings, businesses and communities across the city and liaising with the Greater Manchester integrated hub.
Roll out the vaccination programme.
We have successfully rolled out the vaccination programme to the priority groups in Salford and currently engaging in mop-up sessions for people who may have been missed, and in particular to tackle vaccine hesitancy. Section 10 outlines the Salford approach to vaccination which is ‘local first’. The evidence highlights the closer to home, the higher the uptake.
Outline the governance arrangements in place to oversee and steer this work locally.
Our health protection board is providing leadership for delivery of this outbreak plan. The board is chaired by the Director of Public Health or their Deputy, and members will be drawn from health, care and community partners across the city. Arrangements (and terms of reference) are set out in Annex Two of this plan.
Ensure robust information is in place.
We have strengthened the data and intelligence for Salford ensuring we capture real time information about all reported and suspected cases of the virus in city, and building a robust picture on settings, communities and areas of the city that continue to report new or suspected cases.
Set out communications and engagement arrangements to support delivery of this plan, including any potential disproportionate equality impacts from the plan and how they will be mitigated.
Maintaining the support of partners and the consent of our residents in the control measures set out is paramount. This includes continued adherence to social distancing and hygiene measures. Our approach to engagement and communications is outlined in section 13.
Set out the financial and legal framework that enables delivery of this plan.
It will be important that we can sustain our approach for the next 12 to 18 months as we continue to live with COVID-19. The plan outlines the funding received and the next steps in the government road map. An assessment of risks and equality impacts are also included.
We are committed to effectively and proactively managing the spread of the virus, to minimise its prevalence and the impact of coronavirus within our communities. This plan is Salford’s response – it is a whole council, whole system response. Together with people across the city we will do all we can to prevent, control and reduce transmission of the virus; to protect the vulnerable; to prevent increased demand on health care services; and to address health protection, infection control and environmental health associated impacts which will support the city’s social and economic recovery.
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