COVID-19 update - 20 August 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. We will do our best to keep you updated with the latest information and key decisions from the Strategic 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
Our regional #DoYourBit campaign continues to move at pace, with the flu vaccination visuals going through testing as we speak. This week the focus is on testing through BAME and parent networks, and all feedback will be collated and fed back into the design next week.

Keep an eye out in the Durham and Darlington council magazines too, as the first public advert urging people to get ready to get their jab will be featuring on a double page spread.

Radio Tyneside have interviewed Bas Sen, a consultant in emergency medicine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and regional clinical advisor for the North East and Yorkshire following our media release which we shared with you last week. You can listen to Bas’ interview here.

A few weeks ago, we shared a message of support for the communities of Leicester as they reinstated lockdown measures to bring the local COVID-19 outbreak under control. I am happy to report that this week has saw the easing of certain restrictions in Leicester, thanks to the concerted efforts of the local communities.

As I’ve mentioned before, these local lockdowns serve as a stark reminder to us all that the virus is still very much among us and of the remaining importance of our own outbreak plans and continued surveillance; as well as the rules around social distancing and handwashing.

On a national level there have been a number of encouraging developments in the fight against COVID-19. A study to find out whether people who had COVID-19 can get infected again has now recruited 10,000 health workers from across the NHS. The ‘SIREN’ (SARS-CoV-2 Immunity & REinfection EvaluatioN) study, is exploring whether specific COVID-19 antibodies provide immunity.

The ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey tracking the virus in the general population will be expanded from regularly testing 28,000 people per fortnight in England to 150,000 by October. The expanded study will provide extensive, weekly data on the spread of infection, supporting rapid testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 both nationally and in areas of concern.

Every day we are learning more about the virus and these studies are vital in helping to understand, and ultimately, beat it.

I would like to again thank you all for your continued hard work and let you know that your efforts continue to be much appreciated.

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

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.

Information, advice and guidance