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Agenda and minutes

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting dated 21 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 272 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting dated 21 December 2020 were approved as a true and correct record subject to the following amendments:


·         Item 1- Covid-19 situational report and incidents


Meradin Peachey Pearce’ be changed to Meradin Peachey


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest received.


Vaccination update


Debbie Simmons, Nurse Director of West Berkshire CCG, provided an update on the rollout of the vaccines. She noted that:


·       Vaccine programmes were changing frequently given the new national guidance

·       The ‘hospital hub’ went live on 14 December in Wokingham Hospital to originally vaccinate those in category 1 (social and health care staff)

·       The hub now had the capability to vaccinate double the amount of people it could at the start of the programme

·       The hub was running 6 days per week

·       local authority front line staff could now also access a vaccine, such as care home staff

·       she noted that the up-take had been slow to start with but was now starting to gather pace

·       Primary Care Networks (PCN’s) vaccination programme across Berkshire West would be live by the middle of January

·       Newbury Racecourse would be a major vaccination site, primarily giving doses to those aged 80 and over

·       PCN’s were all due to be delivered the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine in the w/c 4 January

·       PCN’s would travel to a number of care homes to vaccinate residents and staff

·       She noted that there was a focus to vaccinate staff within GP surgeries


Councillor Masters asked if those who were socially isolated and over 80 would be visited for their vaccine. He also asked if there was a plan to vaccinate teachers.


Debbie Simmons noted that this would be the case and would be delivered through GP’s and district nurses. On teachers, she noted that this may be the case in time, but at the moment this was unclear.


Councillor Bridgman asked if PCN’s had sufficient clinical fridge space for the AstraZeneca vaccine. He also asked if the centralised sites such as hospitals and the Racecourse were primarily for the Pfizer vaccine or whether both would be used at this site.


Debbie Simmons noted that the initial cohort to each PCN of 400 vaccines of the AstraZeneca was to use this in care homes and house-bound patients. She noted that she had not heard any issues with fridge space from PCN’s. On the Racecourse, she noted that for the foreseeable future, GP’s would largely have AstraZeneca vaccine and centralised hubs would hold most of the Pfizer vaccine.


Councillor Doherty asked for clarification on how residents would hear about a vaccine appointment. She also asked if there were any indications of when those under 75 would receive a vaccine.


Debbie Simmons noted that residents would be contacted via phone or text and their GP surgery would contact them as soon as possible. She noted that there was no concrete timescale for when those aged under 75 would start to receive the vaccine.


Councillor Vickers asked if there was any flexibility in the prioritisation categories and whether key workers such as teachers or shop assistants may be moved up.


Debbie Simmons noted that the national guidance, following the clinical advisors, was to vaccinate those who were most likely to die of Covid-19.


Matt Pearce further stated that it was important to note  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Covid-19 situational and incidents report


Matt Pearce provided an update on the Covid-19 situation in West Berkshire. He stated that all data presented was correct as of the 30th 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:


·       The whole of Berkshire remained in Tier 4

·       The local alert levels would be reviewed every 2 weeks


Situational awareness (data correct for the week 23 December to 30 December):

  • He noted that the positivity rates per 100,000 had increased across all Berkshire authorities compared to the previous week and now stood at 377.4 per 100,000 in West Berkshire, which was the lowest rate in Berkshire.

·       The positivity rate was 16.2% in West Berkshire

·       Cases per 100,000 for the 60+ age group stood at 223.8

  • West Berkshire had now had 3,574 cases of Covid-19
  • The number of new confirmed cases in West Berkshire over the previous 7 days was 598
  • He noted that the new variant of Covid-19 was playing a big part in the recent rise of cases


Epidemiology of cases:

  • There had been 30,818 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Berkshire. 85% of these had occurred since the beginning of October.
  • Berkshire’s weekly rate had started to increase since mid-November, in line with the national picture



  • There had been 155 COVID-19 related deaths in West Berkshire during the pandemic. 
  • 3 deaths were recorded for the last week (12th December to 18 December).
  • Since March 2020, West Berkshire’s all-cause mortality rate has been 20% higher than the previous 5 year average, which equates to 187 additional deaths.


Hospital activity

  • The information on this page shows the latest data for the Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust
  • On 30 December, 179 patients were in hospital with COVID-19 in the Royal Berkshire Hospital. 18 of these were on mechanical ventilation. The hospital admission rate was beginning to increase.




  • An outbreak is defined by PHE as two or more cases with highly probable or confirmed epidemiological links. For care home settings one case counts as an outbreak.
  • Over the previous 14 days, PHE had informed of 58 non-residential outbreaks in Berkshire
  • Number of new outbreaks in West Berkshire by setting (14 to 27 December):





(inc early years, primary, secondary and HE)


Care Homes









Measures to prevent Covid-19


  • The most effective method of stopping transmission of Covid-19 is to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, to use a face mask in shops and enclosed public spaces and to keep 2 metres apart from others.


Councillor Doherty asked if the percentage increase per week had slowed slightly since December.


Matt Pearce noted that there had been a slight slowing, but that testing over the Christmas period had been patchy so it was too soon to say.


Meradin Peachey noted that the rise over the previous two weeks was still significant, just not as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.


Communications update


Mandip Bilkhu 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
  • A video with a local GP had been shared online around Covid-19
  • The Tier 4 poster with relevant information had been translated into 4 languages
  • A statement had been released on the position of primary schools in West Berkshire
  • Information on what to do if contacted by the test and trace service had been released
  • The communications team remained on hand to provide additional information to the national guidance as it was released



Future agenda items


Councillor Doherty asked if there could be a further update on the roll-out of the vaccination in two weeks’ time.


Jo Reeves noted that she would seek to find a suitable person to provide an update.


Any other Business


Councillor Masters asked for further information on the press release on schools.


Councillor Boeck noted that there was a mixed picture for schools across West Berkshire and the Council would continue to support head teachers. He stated that all schools would continue to remain open for children of key workers.