Cumbria has today published its draft COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan and is inviting feedback from the public and organisations in the county.
All upper tier Local Authority areas in England are required to produce a plan. It sets out how, in co-ordination with the national NHS Test and Trace system, the county will manage the ongoing risk posed by COVID-19 through public information, infection prevention and control, case finding, testing and contact tracing, outbreak management and, if necessary, implementation of ‘local lockdowns’.
The plan also explains who will make decisions about local measures, and how they will be made, including the important role of local Health Protection Boards.
The plan is live and Cumbria is currently working to the model it sets out. Given its importance and the need for public confidence in the approach, the plan will be subject to a period of public consultation until 31 July. A final version will then be formally adopted by Cumbria’s Local Resilience Forum.
Full detail can be found at https://cumbria.gov.uk/publichealth/covid19outbreakcontrol.asp
Publishing the plan today Cumbria’s Director of Public Health Colin Cox and Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities Deborah Earl are stressing that keeping COVID-19 at bay is everyone’s responsibility, and only by working together and following the rules will we keep our communities safe.
Mr Cox said: “Over 400 people have died in Cumbria as a resulted of COVID-19 infection. It has been the largest mass fatality event the county has seen since WWII.
“Because people have followed the rules, observed social distancing and taken steps to protect their communities, we now have a low rate of infection in the county.
“The evidence from elsewhere, in the UK and internationally, is that we must continue to be on our guard. This highly infectious disease has not been eradicated and could spread again quickly if we do not take precautions.
“We must balance this with the vital need to reopen our economy and other institutions and allow people to live their lives as normally as possible.
“But returning to how things were pre-COVID-19 is not possible if we want to prevent a second wave of infection, further damaging lockdowns and more deaths.
“To keep Cumbria safe, and our economy and schools open, it is critical that people continue to follow the rules – observe social distancing, practice good hygiene, wear face masks where appropriate, get tested if you have symptoms and self-isolate if necessary or if you are asked to by contact tracers.
“By all working together, following the approach set out in our Outbreak Control Plan, we can ensure Cumbria is COVID-secure and keep people safe.”
Cllr Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “This is a comprehensive plan that shows how Cumbria will work together to tackle this deadly virus. In some ways now may be the most dangerous time as people start to feel that the worst is over and things can get back to normal.
“We will all have to be constantly vigilant to stop the virus taking hold again. This is about everyone looking out for each other, behaving responsibly and remembering that only if everyone sticks to the rules can we keep people safe.”