Protecting and supporting vulnerable people
We know from the number of local people previously identified within the coronavirus ‘shielding’ category that there are many people and families who need support during this pandemic.
We also know that some people and families who are instructed to self-isolate as a result of having symptoms or being identified as a close contact of a confirmed case will find this difficult and may require additional support.
Local authorities in Devon, working with partners and the voluntary and community sector, will ensure that these people are able to find appropriate help and support.
Prevention and response plans
We know that there are some people and communities who are at higher risk during a coronavirus outbreak. These include, for example:
- black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
- refugees and asylum seekers
- people with a learning disability and autism
- older people and people with underlying health conditions
It is important the Local Outbreak Health Protection Board ensures that the health needs of those most vulnerable people and communities are addressed.
The overview of organisational involvement and roles also includes detail of the relevant board member lead for these areas.
Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are interventions that have been put in place during the pandemic to help control the spread of the virus. These have included:
- closing schools
- ceasing indoor food and drink services
- limiting the number of households that can mix indoors
- closing sectors
- requiring people to stay at home
They also include the key public health measures such as social distancing, wearing a face-covering while in indoor public spaces and washing your hands regularly.
Many businesses have asked people to work from home and put up posters and markings to encourage people to keep their distance.
These interventions work but they also have an impact on the economy and people’s emotional health and wellbeing.
It is expected that some of these NPI, will continue into the future to help control the spread of the virus and are likely to become part of the ‘new normal’ for many people.
While it is important that the plan can be used to respond to all local coronavirus outbreaks we know from the data and intelligence that there are settings that are more likely to have outbreaks or may be more challenging to manage during an outbreak due to the nature of the setting or vulnerability of the cohort concerned. These include, for example, care homes, NHS settings and workplaces.
It is therefore sensible to have specific plans in place with pre-agreed actions to respond to outbreaks in these higher-risk settings.
Standard operating procedures will be created to enable a coordinated and timely system response to help contain outbreaks.
In addition to providing guidance and advice to important settings and communicating guidance and advice to the general population, both through national and local messaging, there is a need for evidence-based preventative measures to be targeted at high-risk settings.
Training and advice have been, and will continue to be, provided by the NHS Community Infection Prevention and Control Team to those who work in higher-risk settings and those working with or caring for the most vulnerable people.
High-quality, timely infection prevention and control advice is critical to help prevent the spread and contain the virus.