Agenda item

COVID Update Presentation


Ian Wake, Director of Public Health, provided Members with an update on the latest Thurrock COVID-19 Data and Intelligence.


·         Current Picture, 7 Days, Positives per 100K – Thurrock had continued to be ranked towards the bottom of the list and currently at 127.3.

·         Thurrock ranked 106 out of the 149 Upper Tier Local Authorities.

·         Historical: 7 Day, Positives per 100K and Rank – Good news that those figures had started to fall over the last week when compared to the historical rates and ranking.

·         Current Picture: 7 Day, Positives per 100K, Aged 60+ - There had been some concerns on the rate of positives per 100K of population aged over 60 with some thinking from Public Health England that might have moved Thurrock up to Tier 2. This had been resisted and referred Members to Pillar 1 which had been due to outbreaks in Basildon Hospital and in a care home which was now under control. The chart showed that Pillar 1 figures were now reducing where Pillar 2, outbreaks in the community, had started to rise and was the most concerning at this time.  Although numbers were relatively small the majority of those were related to young or middle aged adults.

·         Current Picture: Bed Occupancy BTUH – Bed occupancy at Basildon Hospital showed figures had dropped slightly over the last week or so. The number of patients on Mechanical Ventilation had risen and although the numbers were still quite small. Members were reminded that these were patients in Basildon Hospital so not necessarily all Thurrock residents.

·         Residents testing COVID-19 positive on admission or within two days of admission to Basildon Hospital – One positive element of the data had identified that community transmission in Thurrock at the moment and was not having a particularly high demand on Thurrock Hospital.

·         Current Picture: Outbreaks – Care homes remained the biggest concern. One outbreak in a Thurrock care home was now under control.


Ian Wake concluded that:


       Thurrock’s overall rate of positive tests and ranking had fallen in the last seven days.

       Pillar 1 rate of tests in those aged 60+ had fallen substantially, although positive tests amongst older people in the community continued to rise.

       Hospital bed use due to COVID-19 had declined but ITU use had increased.

       Numbers of Thurrock residents testing positive for COVID-19 in hospital on or within two days of admission had fallen and overall numbers remained low.

       Care home outbreaks remained a concern.

       The key priorities would be to enhanced measures for care homes including IPC and staff testing, communication messages to residents at higher risk including older people and those who were CEV and Contact Tracing at local level which was working well but under strain and was out to recruitment.


Councillor Holloway asked Ian Wake to elaborate on his concerns on care homes. Ian Wake stated there would always be a risk of worry for care homes as the setting was easy for COVID to spread, easy to contract and the level of health of those in care homes. That arrangements were working well with care home hubs now being set up with daily calls being made to care home managers, PPE was well supplied, with additional health arrangements in place and good care planning.


Councillor Holloway questioned the strictness of the lockdown and questioned who Members should contact if they were aware of large events or gatherings. Ian Wake stated this would depend on what the breach was but every call would be investigated and it would be in the first instance to engage and educate but where those who were still breaching there were robust enforcement powers in place to close settings and thankfully in Thurrock these had not been used as yet. Ian Wake welcomed any intelligence from Members as this would be useful and reassured that they would always be actioned. Councillor Holloway thanked Ian Wake for the reassurances provided in his presentation and for everything that Ian Wake and his team were doing.


Councillor Muldowney thanked Ian Wake for provided a local picture and questioned whether there were any further plans for Mayfield Ward at Thurrock Hospital. Ian Wake stated there had to be a designated setting to enable discharged patients to self-isolate for 14 days before going back into care homes and in Thurrock, Oak House was being used for this. Roger Harris stated that Mayfield Ward had been re-opened but was not a specific COVID ward. This took patients from Basildon Hospital who had been discharged from hospital but not well enough to return back home but did not need to be at an acute hospital site. This was being kept under review with twice daily calls to assess any escalation levels to ensure there was a flow of patients out of hospitals.


Councillor Muldowney asked for reassurances that the beds would not be returned to Brentwood. Roger Harris referred to the report that was presented at the September committee and the critical element of that was staffing to ensure that the maximum use of specialist staff and equipment. Roger Harris stated there were no discussions taking place on this at the moment but it was important to ensure that the right number of beds were in the right place and were properly and safely staffed.


Councillor Muldowney asked whether the second wave was hitting just as any immunity from the first wave levels was wearing off. Ian Wake stated that nobody was 100% sure what the true level of immunity was in the population.


Councillor Rigby asked what the success percentage rate was for Trace Contacts in Thurrock. Ian Wake stated this was dependent on who was doing this. Tier 3 and 2, the national response was about average 60%. Tier 1, the Health Protection Team in conjunction with Ian Wake’s team in specialist settings such as care homes and schools was almost 100%. That a local service had been set up that picked up all the routine work that the national and regional team were supposed to do and every resident who had tested positive would receive a call whether they had been contacted or not by the national team. The offer of welcome calls were supported and were able to identify additional contacts. This information would be added to a database where this could be cross referenced.


Councillor Ralph thanked Ian Wake and Roger Harris for their time and for constantly being on call when required.