COVID-19 update - 4 May 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
Tomorrow (5 May 2020) sees the official opening of NHS Nightingale Hospital North East by HRH The Countess of Wessex. The opening will take place with a virtual ceremony via video link.

The opening of the hospital - which has the potential to care for 460 patients with COVID-19 - is thanks to a huge collaborative effort between Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, other NHS organisations and partners including construction contractors, Sunderland City Council and the British Army. I would like to express my personal thanks and appreciation to everyone for their efforts and look forward to watching the official opening virtually tomorrow.

Myself, clinical lead for the ICS Professor Chis Gray and colleagues Public Health England - North East and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services have written to care providers across the patch to outline further support in relation to COVID-19.

Dedicated teams are now being developed in each local authority area to work with all care providers and establishments to support them to reduce the risk of COVID-19 getting into establishments and reducing the spread once in homes. The teams will consist of a lead, infection prevention and control nursing, training lead, health promotion, commissioning quality lead, provider lead and resident’s representative. Each team will provide dedicated infection control advice and support, staff training, access to resources, including where required additional support for deep cleans, respond to ideas from the sector and share ideas and innovation rapidly across the whole sector.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognise the hard work of people working across the care sector and acknowledge the significant challenges they have faced throughout this pandemic. I hope this additional offer of support is welcome and we look forward to continuing to work with you.

A range of national partners through the Smokefree Action Coalition are supporting a campaign to encourage smokers to quit for COVID-19. This follows emerging evidence that smoking increases the risks of developing life threatening complications from COVID-19, alongside the already-known risks of smoking – weakened immune systems, heart disease, pneumonia, COPD, stroke and cancer. More information on the #QuitForCovid campaign can be found here.

We will be back in touch on Wednesday. Thanks again for all that you are doing to care for our local communities.

Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
NHS England/Improvement statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) on 4 May 2020
A further 204 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 21,384.

Patients were aged between 26 and 101 years old. 3 of the 204 patients (aged between 41 and 58 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 36
London 22
Midlands 43
North East & Yorkshire 42
North West 35
South East 21
South West 5

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 24 April and subsequently.

This means the NHS England and NHS Improvement data collection provides information on all COVID-19 related (suspected and confirmed) deaths in England hospitals.

Today, 10 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.

Deployment of Student Midwives
The NHS Staff Council, in conjunction with Health Education England (HEE), is now providing further information on job descriptions and bandings for the potential paid placements that midwifery students could be deployed into during this period. This guidance provides details of suitable roles and a template job description. Unlike student nurses, there is not the legislation in place to allow access to a temporary register. Download and read the full guidance.

Additional publications