COVID-19 ICS update - 4 March 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 vaccination programme
More good news this week that Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will become our region’s fifth large vaccination centre, opening later this month, after a successful opening of Darlington Arena Covid-19 Vaccination Centre earlier this week.

The additional capacity, combined with fantastic efforts across primary care, will prove crucial to help our teams vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, particularly as we juggle moving through the cohorts with people also getting their second dose.

And that’s not all, figures released today show we have now delivered 990,599 vaccine doses across our region – which is amazing and is the highest number of cumulative doses in the country.

This is a remarkable achievement which is saving lives. A huge thank you everyone involved in the programme.

The latest picture from across the region
The number of community cases across the region are continuing to fall, as are the number of patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals which is very positive news.

Of course, ongoing challenges still remain and, while it is encouraging that the numbers are heading in the right direction, we are acutely aware of the pressures and challenges that continue to face our frontline staff; especially within intensive care units where numbers have reduced more slowly.

Your continued effort to provide the very best care to our communities during this time is very much appreciated.

With warmer weather on the way, schools returning and restrictions starting to ease in the coming months we will be continuing to ask our communities for their support - to keep following the rules and remain vigilant. So keep an eye out for the next instalment of our Do Your Bit campaign.

Flu vaccination programme
Last week those who were involved in the flu vaccination programme reflected on this year’s programme. As always, we are never looking to stand still and work is already underway to see how we can improve uptake even further, particularly in our under-served groups this year. I understand there were some really positive discussions. Well done everyone.

Newcastle’s brain tumour centre award ‘centre of excellence’ status
Good news for our region this week as Newcastle Hospitals’ brain tumour centre has been named a national ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence’. It is one of only ten hospitals across the UK to receive this recognition and is testament to the expertise and dedication of the neuro-oncology team who provide outstanding care for patients in our region. You can read more on this here.

Support for our staff
Please continue to spread the word about our regional staff wellbeing hub where there is support and advice available for all staff – whatever their job or place of work across health and care. There are more details here.

Keep up the great work everyone.

Best wishes,


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

Other news and updates

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.