COVID-19 outbreak management plan

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. 

We know that throughout this pandemic some communities are feeling the impact of coronavirus more than others. Coronavirus 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. But coronavirus has also brought local services even closer together as a whole system. Through the Spirit of Salford, partners have come together very quickly in ways we wouldn't have thought possible.

Working together with other areas in Greater Manchester, our local systems were better prepared in managing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) meaning our frontline staff and volunteers were and continue to be protected. We introduced individual risk assessments for frontline workers – not just at the setting or service level but also for those with different job roles, ethnicity and health conditions. We’re now rolling out health checks to care homes and home care staff.

As we move to the next stage of managing the virus, local responses are a vital part of an integrated national and regional approach. As we ease out of national lockdown and businesses begin to reopen, it is more important than ever that we have the capacity, capability, systems and processes in place to prevent and respond locally to any potential outbreaks of the virus. A national framework of test, trace, contain and enable (TTCE) has been developed – and to be effective it relies on an effective and timely local response.

TTCE is a real building block for us being able to keep the virus visible and to stop forward transmission. The sooner we identify a case who tests positive, the sooner we can trace their contacts and advise self-isolation. This then rapidly protects others from being exposed to the virus. The NHS Test and Trace system is being rolled out nationally, with shared arrangements across Greater Manchester; for example, to trace contacts who may live, work and travel from different local authority areas.

A local response in Salford has been in place since the very early stages of the pandemic. We set up local testing from mid-April as a partnership across the NHS, the council and with the voluntary sector. The ability to test locally is invaluable for a rapid response to a suspected case – someone who is unwell in a school, a care home, or a keyworker’s household – and we can get the result very quickly.

In early June, 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. 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

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.

The measures, systems and processes set out in the Salford COVID-19 outbreak management plan:

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. This setting scenario planning and SOPs continue.

Our response is based on scenario planning for each setting and a response tailored to the unique circumstances of each setting. Our approach has been co-designed with sector, organisational and community leaders, and will be adjusted as necessary through ongoing engagement and co-design. At all times and in all settings prevention and local public health advice are at the core of our response.

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 five of this plan, we intend to make maximum use of local testing capacity (pillar 1 of the national testing strategy). This will enable the most timely and effective response to potential or suspected outbreaks in the city. Our local testing capacity will be prioritised 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.

Set out the timely and responsive testing, contact tracing and consequence management capacity needed to ensure effective delivery of this plan.

Section six of our plan sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Salford case and consequence management team (CCMT) which will lead in all aspects of test, trace, contain and enable in Salford. An initial contact team will be created from the council’s contact centre staff – skilled in building trust and gathering information from the public. Specialist health protection, infection control and environmental health staff will 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.

Section seven sets out our approach to data and intelligence – 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. This will be essential to inform an effective local response. Once developed, our local case management system and data, will connect to the Greater Manchester case management system and to the Joint BioSecurity Centre system as it evolves.

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 eight of this plan.

Outline the governance arrangements in place to oversee and steer this work locally.

We are strengthening our health protection board to provide leadership of our local public health response, including leadership for delivery of this outbreak plan. The board will be chaired by the Director of Public Health, and members will be drawn from health, care and community partners across the city. Arrangements (and terms of reference) are set out in section ten of this plan.

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.

Building trust in the effectiveness of our local arrangements will be a critical factor in the success of this plan and in our efforts to control and limit the effects of the virus across Salford. 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 12.

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. A financial plan is in place to ensure we make best use of the £1.975m available from national Government for delivery of this plan, and we will continue to monitor costs.

Delivery of this plan is led by the Director of Public Health. We are confident in the arrangements set out in this plan. It does not though set out to address all the possible associated impacts and consequences as a result of health protection measures. Nor does it – or can it – set out all the possible responses that may need to be considered. In extreme cases (such as consideration of, or a return to, previous lockdown arrangements) this will require further deliberation locally, regionally and potentially nationally. 

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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