COVID-19 ICS update - 21 January 2021

This bulletin provides important information for people working in health and care across the North East and North Cumbria regarding guidance and actions being co-ordinated across our region to care for patients, staff and our communities in the light of COVID-19. We will do our best to keep you updated with the latest information and key decisions from the Health Co-ordinating Group. This group is led by Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. If you have any questions or would like us to send vital information to partners through this bulletin, please contact us here.
Message from Alan Foster
Alan Foster
Covid cases
Things remain very busy and pressured across the region; particularly for our colleagues in Cumbria and Tees and its surrounding areas where this is being felt most intensively. Our thoughts, as always, are with all our colleagues facing such a prolonged period of intense pressure.

Hospital admissions this week have continued to rise and as have the number of people in our intensive care units. Even though there are positive signs of community cases falling, we do expect things to remain busy for the next few weeks.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our teams for their extraordinary efforts and unrelenting support. This includes everyone across the whole system from primary care to public health, and our social care and care home colleagues who are equally dealing with enormous pressure and supporting the effort to ensure timely discharge.

As a region we continue to pull together; offering mutual aid and support where it is most needed. This does mean, where it is clinically safe to do so, that some patients are being moved to other hospitals within the region when it is not possible to provide the care they need at their host hospital.

Covid-19 vaccine
This week it was announced that the covid vaccine programme will now be extended to people in their 70s and those listed as clinically extremely vulnerable – which is great news.

A herculean effort is underway across this region to deliver our largest ever vaccination programme. Given the pressures already described it is a tribute to our teams that we have achieved so much, so quickly. Everyone has pulled together across health and care and in our local authorities, our volunteers, transport organisations, and many more.

As you will see from numbers published today we have made great strides to vaccinate our communities (with the highest vaccination numbers in the country). We are also on track to have offered all care home residents and staff the vaccination by the end of this week. This should be a real point of pride for everyone, so a huge well done to teams right across the patch.

First dose of vaccine in North East and North Cumbria
  • 114, 117 people over 80
  • 129, 873 people aged under 80
Second dose of vaccine in North East and North Cumbria
  • 19,874 people aged over 80
  • 7,672 people aged under 80
Now we have further supplies of the Oxford vaccine, our primary care networks are in a position to start vaccinating more people who are housebound, which is great news as we know these are often our most vulnerable patients.

We are continuing to remind people:

- if they receive an invite from the national booking service for the Centre for Life in Newcastle they can, if they prefer, wait and go to their GP practice for their vaccination. It is likely that their invite will arrive from their GP very soon. There’s enough vaccine for everyone who wants to have one, so they don’t need to worry about making a trip to Newcastle if they are happy to wait until their GP contacts them.

- if they have received an invitation to be vaccinated already from their GP practice/PCN we are asking them to keep this appointment rather than go to the Centre for Life.

We are also asking the public to be patient - to wait to be invited for their vaccine and not to call their GP surgery. Please help to share these important messages on your own channels.

Flu vaccine

In terms of flu vaccinations we are coming towards the end of the programme now and I wanted to express my thanks to everyone for their efforts. We have vaccinated more people than ever before - 941, 967 people in total so far.

Just to give you a flavour, as of this week our data showed that we have vaccinated around 83% of those aged over 65 (this compares to 73% this time last year).

We have also vaccinated 56% of those aged under 65 and clinically at risk (44% last year). We’ve seen significant improvements in other groups with 52% of carers vaccinated (39% last year), 58% of 2 years olds (43% last year) and 61% of three year olds (44% last year). I think the figures speak for themselves – well done everyone.

As always our thoughts continue to be with those who have has lost loved ones to Covid-19 and all our teams and other key workers who continue to work round-the-clock to keep us all safe.

Keep going everyone.

Best wishes,
Alan Foster is the executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System

Other news and updates

National map of covid vaccination locations

List of covid vaccination locations

The R number in the UK: The latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK can be found here on GOV.UK.

Public Health England dashboard: The Public Health England (PHE) dashboard can be found here. Daily reporting includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive COVID-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. The report also includes case rates per 100,000 resident population at lower-tier local authority level.

National flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports: A link to the weekly national flu and COVID-19 report, monitoring COVID-19 activity, seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses can be found here.