Agenda and minutes
Apologies were received from Shairoz Claridge and Mandip Bilku.
The minutes of the previous meeting dated 23 November were approved as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest received.
Covid-19 situational report and incidents
Matt Pearce provided an update on the Covid-19 situation in West Berkshire. He stated that all data presented was correct as of the 6th of December 2020. He also noted that the slides being presented were now in line with the rest of Berkshire and would be published on the Berkshire Public Health website.
Changes to restrictions:
· National lockdown restrictions were lifted on 2 December and replaced with a local tier system
· Slough was in tier 3: very high alert
· Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire, Reading, Wokingham and Windsor & Maidenhead were in tier 2: high alert
· The local alert levels would be reviewed every 2 weeks
· The positivity rate was 2.9% in West Berkshire
· Cases per 100,000 for the 60+ age group stood at 27.3
Epidemiology of cases:
Measures to prevent Covid-19
· National lockdown restrictions were lifted on 2 December and replaced with local tiers. Slough entered tier 3, West Berkshire tier 2
· West Berkshire has had 1,745 confirmed cases of Covid-19 so far and 80 of those had been over the last 7 days (30 November – 6 December)
· The weekly rate was 50.5 per 100,000 population. This was at 27.3 for those aged 60+.
· There had been 144 Covid-19 related deaths in West Berkshire since the start of the ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
Matt Pearce outlined information on Covid-19 testing.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a free test if at least one of the following applies:
You can also get a test for someone you live with if they have symptoms.
· home testing kits can be delivered to a residents’ door so they do not have to leave the house to get tested
· order a home test kit if you cannot get to a testing site
· get the test within 7 days of symptoms starting
Regional Testing Sites (RTS):
· Newbury Showground- large testing site where up to 800 people can be tested each day
Mobile Testing Unit (MTU):
· Mobile testing units travel across the UK to ensure those who need a test can access one
· They respond to need
· 2 sites in West Berkshire- Hungerford and Thatcham- with each getting 2-3 visits per month
Local Testing Sites (LTS)
· These provide a more accessible testing route in the community
· Operate as a walk-thru method rather than drive-thru for self-isolating
· Fixed locations that provide medium volume throughout in places of high population density
· Currently none in West Berkshire
· Not widely available yet
· Mainly for care and health workers
Other types of testing:
· Care homes- staff (weekly) and residents (every 28 days)
· Satellite testing sites- NHS staff & patients, key workers
· Schools- 10 testing kits and instructions on ordering more
· General Practice- can order 40 swab testing kits per week
· Universities- 10 testing kits per 1000 students
· To identify asymptomatic Covid-19 cases
· The aim of this is to control community transmission by getting everyone who test positive to isolate
· Lateral Flow Testing kits are being rolled out across the country
Lateral Flow Tests- background
· These do not require lab processing so can return a result much quicker than a PCR test
· It has enabled community testing to be used as another tool to control Covid-19
· They are NOT a quick version of the PCR test
· The tests identify 90% of cases in individuals who have high levels of the virus, but only 60-70% overall
· Testing seen on the scale in Liverpool is unlikely to be seen in tier 1 and 2 areas
· Currently awaiting further evidence and guidance on the approach in West Berkshire
Martin Dunscombe provided an update on the work of the communications team in relation to Covid-19.
· The Tier system and what it meant had been shared via numerous streams, both online and via post
· Posters advising on staying safe during the Christmas break had been distributed
· Social media graphics sharing Christmas safety messages, translated into a number of languages
· Work with schools was on-going and social distancing at school gates, where schools could share this information with parents
· Banners were being created for the school gates
· Animations and campaigns on how Covid-19 can spread and videos with young people on how to stay safe
· Working with young medical professionals on their work during Covid-19
· General flu-vaccination messaging was on-going
· Information on what to do if contacted by the test and trace service had been released
Any other business
Councillor Woollaston stated that he would like to see an update from the hospitality industry if possible.
Councillor Bridgman stated that there was a need to be cautious with the messaging on Lateral Flow Tests, especially with care homes.
Andy Sharp stated that he agreed that there was a need to be cautious with the messaging around Lateral Flow Tests. He noted that there was a pilot on-going in Wokingham that would provide more clarity on this in the coming days.