As Leicester prepares for a local lockdown and Bedford awaits the findings of the Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre ‘deep dive’, the Borough Council has published its Local Outbreak Control Plan.
The Plan sets out the Borough’s response to a local coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and will be formally endorsed by the Member Local Outbreak Engagement Board when it meets on Thursday 2 July at 5pm.
With the introduction of the NHS Test and Trace programme all Unitary and County Councils were asked to produce a Local Outbreak Control Plan.
These plans set out how local authorities will work with communities and partners to prevent and respond to local issues and situations related to coronavirus and slow the spread of infection.
The plan also provides a specific focus on measures to support those who maybe more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus.
The plan is a key part of the NHS Test and Trace programme, describing how any local residents developing symptoms associated with COVID-19 can get tested and how mobile testing units may be used to provide tests to specific locations within the Borough.
It also explains how the Test and Trace programme will identify and inform people who have been in contact with someone with the infection so they can self-isolate to limit further spread.
While Bedford Borough is not currently seeing a spike in the virus, as seen in Leicester in recent days, rates of infection remain high compared to other areas so it is really important that everyone continues to stay at home as much as possible.
If you need to go out keep two metres apart, wear a face covering (particularly on public transport), and regularly wash your hands.
Bedford Borough Council is working with Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to investigate why rates of infection here aren’t falling as quickly as other areas and take action to bring the rates down.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, who will chair the Member Local Outbreak Engagement Board which oversees the delivery of the Local Outbreak Control Plan, said, “Working closely with our partners and backed up by local, regional and national data sources the Local Outbreak Control Plan sets out the actions we will take locally to tackle outbreaks or a local spike in the virus.
“In the case of an outbreak we need to act quickly to stop the spread of the virus and protect lives. This may mean taking action to close a school, workplace or care home while supporting those affected.
“It also reiterates the action we can all take to reduce the spread of the virus in the first place so that we can continue to stay safe and avoid a return to lockdown.
“We’ve seen in places like Leicester sudden spikes of the virus leading to a local lockdown. In Bedford Borough, we haven’t seen a big spike in infections yet but our rates remain high compared to the rest of the South of England.
“To avoid a local lockdown, we need everyone to keep acting responsibly to slow the spread of the virus.
“It is crucial that we all continue to stay at home as much as possible. If you need to go out keep two metres apart and wear a face covering (particularly on public transport), and regularly wash your hands.”