COVID-19 update - 29 April 2020

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. This is a fast-moving and evolving situation. We will do our best to keep you updated with the latest information and key decisions from the Strategic Health Command 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
Remembering our colleagues
Yesterday we came together in one minute of silence to pay tribute to, and remember, health and care staff who have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic. I would like to express my personal sadness and deepest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones. My thoughts are with you all.

Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19
As I mentioned on Monday, we are now planning how we start to re-open access to some services which were stepped down as we geared up to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter from NHS chief executive Simon Stevens and NHS chief operating officer Amanda Pritchard has been issued today outlining key actions for this next phase. This includes stepping up non-COVID-19 urgent services over the next six weeks and non-urgent elective care. At the same time, we know we are going to see increased demand for ‘COVID-19 aftercare’ across community health services, primary care and mental health.

What the letter also makes clear is the continued importance of maintaining efforts around infection control, securing supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing, in light of the fact that the virus will be with us for some time.

Crucially important is how we continue to support the health and wellbeing of our staff as they remain under unprecedented pressure.

Reflecting on this letter I wanted to say that although we have a strong history of working together – the past two months has only strengthened this more. It is this strength, and the desire to do the very best for our patients and staff, that we must continue to draw on as we move into the next phase. You should be incredibly proud of what you have achieved. You can read the full letter here.

COVID-19 testing
As you will be aware testing for COVID-19 has been significantly ramped up over the last few weeks. Last week the government announced access to testing for more groups of key workers, and yesterday to anyone over 65 with symptoms.

A testing process has been agreed by health, care, and other organisations in the North East and North Cumbria as a way to ensure that staff and the people they care for are offered the best advice and support. A full briefing will be circulated this week.

New interim foundation doctors
As you know our new doctors who graduated early from medical school have now joined us. I know they will be very much supported as they start in their new interim foundation year one (FiY1) posts. We are sharing this message of support on social media which also highlights the fact that these doctors have their own lanyards so they can be easily identified by colleagues.

And finally…
I am sure you will join me in wishing Captain Tom Moore a happy 100th birthday for tomorrow, Thursday 30 April. He’s an inspiration to us all.

A reminder that it is #clapforcarers tomorrow evening too. An opportunity for us to pay tribute and thank the thousands of health and care and other key workers who continue to care for our communities.

Keep up the great work everyone.


Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
Other news and guidance

NHS England/Improvement statement on Coronavirus (Covid-19) on 27 April 2020
A further 445 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 19,746.

Patients were aged between 14 and 101 years old. 27 of the 445 patients (aged between 14 and 94 years old) had no known underlying health condition.
Their families have been informed.

The number of deaths of patients with COVID-19 by region are as follows:

East of England 55
London 129
Midlands 96
North East & Yorkshire 72
North West 59
South East 57
South West 16

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish the number of patients who have died in hospital and tested positive for COVID-19 in England. From Tuesday 28 April, NHS England and NHS Improvement also reports the number of patient deaths where there has been no COVID-19 positive test result, but where COVID-19 is documented as a direct or underlying cause of death on part 1 or part 2 of the death certification process.

This change has been introduced for deaths that occurred on 24th April and subsequently.

This means the NHS England and NHS Improvement data collection provides information on all COVID related (suspected and confirmed) deaths in England hospitals.

Today, 30 deaths are reported with no positive COVID-19 test result.

Additional data, including listings by Trust and date of death is available on the NHS England website and can be accessed here.