COVID-19 update - 17 September 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
Local restrictions

Today we have welcomed new measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 which come into effect across the North East from tomorrow (Friday 18 September). You can read our media release on the new local restrictions here.

It is hoped these arrangements will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our local communities and the NHS. We have also taken the opportunity to urge the public to use the NHS in the right way and asked that they follow clear NHS guidance in relation to Coronavirus testing.

More details on the restrictions are being shared on council websites, including FAQs.

Join up to our #DoYourBit campaign

With cases of coronavirus rising in parts of our region and with winter around the corner – this is a crucial time for us all. I would like to thank everyone for their continued support and hard work during what remains very challenging times for us all.

Now, more than ever, we need our communities to continue to do their bit to protect themselves and each other. As you may already be aware we have been looking at how we can work even more collaboratively to share really important and consistent messages to the public across the North East and North Cumbria.

Our #DoYourBit campaign has been developed to do just that - bringing together some key actions people can take to protect themselves and each other this winter.

You may have seen some elements of this campaign already – most recently when we shared advice for the public in the North Integrated Care Partnership area asking them to think pharmacy, 111 and GP first, and keep A&E free for emergencies only.

We are now starting the next phase of this campaign which is to ask people to do their bit by having the flu vaccination. This will be our most ambitious vaccination programme ever and it goes without saying that it really has never been more important for people to take up the offer of a free vaccine.

This week we are making available a toolkit for comms leads within organisations to support this programme for the both the public and our workforce. We have endeavoured to develop these resources and other aspects of the campaign so you can adapt and localise. We are also investing resources to support some advertising across the region including TV and radio.

You can see how the overall campaign is taking shape on our website here.

So, I am asking for just a few things:
Good news this week. The go ahead for a multi-million pound regional Lighthouse Laboratory and COVID hub was announced by Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle City Council. The hub will strengthen the region's resilience and response in controlling coronavirus and create 1,100 public sector jobs on Tyneside.

The hub will serve the North East, north Cumbria, Yorkshire and Humber and deliver high-volume, rapid turnaround of COVID-19 tests.

The Lighthouse laboratory will be based in Gateshead and there will also be a specialist innovation lab at the Helix site in Newcastle tailored to develop new approaches for the next stage of COVID science and beyond. You can read more about it here.

Stay safe and thank you for all that you are doing to protect our communities and staff during these challenging times.

Best wishes,


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.