COVID-19 update - 26 June 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
Easing of lockdown measures

This week’s announcements to further ease lockdown measures are significant for us all - especially for those that have been shielding. Whether it’s being reunited with friends and family, businesses re-opening or seeing people returning to work - things will be starting to feel a bit more ‘normal’ for some people.

That said, there remains much caution.

The government has set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, people can keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus having mitigations in place which reduce the risk of transmission. You can read more on easing of lockdown restrictions here.

For now, the guidance for those shielding remains the same; stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone. This guidance will change on 6 July and again on 1 August subject to clinical evidence. You can read more here.

Remaining vigilant

The virus is still very much among us. We must remain vigilant and follow the same good practices in terms of social distancing and hand washing, as well as keeping in place other measures such as effective use of PPE. We will be continuing to share these important messages with our communities and staff.

Testing, tracing and ongoing surveillance remains absolutely vital and I would like to thank everyone for all they are doing in this area – it is no mean feat. Our colleagues in local authorities are also busy developing plans to ensure we have what we need in place to manage more localised outbreaks. They have our continued support and partnership working will be crucial.

The months ahead

Across health and care there’s still lots to do. Whether that’s re-starting treatments and care we put on hold, planning for winter or the potential of a second wave, delivering a flu vaccination programme or managing the impact COVID-19 has had on mental health as well as physical health of our communities and staff. There is a lot to balance.

Please do support the Northern Cancer Alliance's cancer campaign which launches next Wednesday (1 July). The campaign will build on the national ‘Help us to help you’ which encourages people to contact their GP if they are experiencing cancer-related signs and symptoms. The campaign will also urge people to attend hospital appointments for cancer treatments and investigations. For further information contact

Lots of learning has emerged, at pace, over the last few months. Working in partnership with the Academic Health Science Network North East and North Cumbria and the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, we want to hear colleagues’ views so we can understand and capture the learning and innovation that is emerging. Please complete this online survey by Friday 3 July here.

A new care pathway and training programme will be rolled out across the North East and North Cumbria to improve care for people with learning disabilities when using hospital services. The Learning Disability Diamond Standard Acute Care Pathway has been developed to support NHS trusts to deliver high quality, reasonably adjusted care and treatment to people with learning disabilities. More information will be published on our website soon.

The LGBTQ+ NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) Staff Network will be holding an NHS Virtual Pride today starting at 6pm. As 2020 is the national year of the nurse and midwife, NHS Virtual Pride will be focusing on celebrating our LGBTQ+ nursing and midwifery colleagues. More information can be found here and you can also join the celebrations by following @VirtualNHSPride on Twitter using #NHSVirtualPride.

Finally, just when you thought you might be off the hook from doing the Great North Run this year…it’s gone virtual and all profits are going to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Find out more here.

Keep up the great work everyone and catch up next week.

Best wishes,

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

Other news and updates

PPE orders: Just a reminder to GPs and small social care providers - you can now place PPE orders via the national portal multiple times a week within the limits set out in the guidance. See here.

SOP for general practice: Standard operating procedure (SOP) for general practice in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been published here.

NHS statement on Coronavirus (Covid-19) - 25 June: A further 55 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 28,490.

Patients were aged between 49 and 98 years old. One patient, aged 70, had no known underlying health conditions. Their families have been informed.

The number of deaths of patients with Covid-19 by region are as follows:
East of England 7
London 3
Midlands 14
North East & Yorkshire 9
North West 17
South East 4
South West 1

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes the number of patients who have died in hospital and tested positive for COVID-19 in England. Since Tuesday 28 April, NHS England/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 related (suspected and confirmed) deaths in England hospitals. Today, SIX 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 by following this link:

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.