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Source: City of Southampton

Southampton City Council has published its COVID-19 Local Outbreak Control Plan which outlines how it will work with partners to minimise the spread of COVID-19 infection, and identify and control local flare ups of the virus as quickly as possible.

Its primary aim is to ensure a coordinated approach to the prevention and spread of COVID-19 infection within the city, whilst maintaining the support of residents to follow public health advice and supporting those that need additional help to enable them to do so. It will monitor early indicators of transmission across Southampton’s diverse communities and settings, providing support to where it is needed.

The plan will evolve with the rapidly changing situation and as our understanding of COVID-19 increases.

Southampton City Council is working closely with partners in the region including Public Health England, the NHS, Hampshire Police and Hampshire Fire Services and is well linked with neighbouring councils as part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum (LRF).

Other local authorities across the country will be publishing their plans this week in line with government guidance.

Interim Director of Public Health at Southampton City Council, Dr Debbie Chase, said:

“On current evidence, new coronavirus COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southampton are on the decline. This puts partners in the city in a stronger place to ease lockdown measures in line with national guidance and move into a ‘new normal’. This is a safer position than we were in, but it is not without risk.

“It is critically important that we all continue to take precautions to reduce the risk to ourselves, our families and our communities. Social distancing, regular handwashing and isolating if we are symptomatic or contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service are all still vital in preventing the spread of infection. It is also important that the places where we live, go to school, work and enjoy time together are as ‘COVID-secure’ as possible.

Two new boards have been set up to deliver the Covid-19 Outbreak Control Plan:

The Southampton COVID-19 Outbreak Engagement Board (OEB) will be chaired by the Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Christopher Hammond. Its primary role will be to ensure political oversight of responses to outbreaks, provide direction and leadership for community engagement, provide assurance on resource use, and be the public face of local responses in the event of an outbreak.

The Southampton COVID-19 Health Protection Board will bring together senior professional leads from agencies across Southampton, and will report to the OEB. The primary roles of the board are to provide oversight of the ongoing development and implementation of the Outbreak Control Plan and make recommendations to the OEB, including the allocation of resources.

Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, said:

“Thanks to the commitment of the vast majority of Southampton residents in following social distancing and isolation guidance, COVID-19 is on the decline in the city. But it’s important to remember that the virus has not gone away. No one wants to see further lockdowns or new spikes, like in Leicester, which is why we all need to continue following the advice set out by health experts, Government and councils. We’re asking people to do things, for their safety and that of others. Everyone wants to get back to some sense of normality, but this threat will be with us for a long time.”

Councillor Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care at Southampton City Council, said:

“This Southampton COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan is the response of the city council and its partners to this challenge. The plan describes the measures we all need to take to reduce our risk, and the processes that are in place to ensure that we identify local outbreaks of COVID-19 and control them as quickly as possible.”

This plan is our response to ensure that we are prepared to act as a city should we see an increase of cases. It will change as we learn more about the disease and its impact on our communities. It’s so important that we all continue to observe social distancing guidance, wash our hands frequently and, should we get symptoms, isolate immediately and contact the NHS Track & Trace programme or call 111 for advice.”

The Southampton COVID-19 Local Outbreak Plan is available to read on the Southampton City Council website.

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