Local authorities have a significant role to play in the identification and management of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks.
All upper-tier local authorities were instructed to produce a Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP) by the end of June 2020. Devon County Council is one of 11 local authorities selected by the government to help lead and share good practice across the region in respect to localised planning for outbreak control.
The Devon and Torbay COVID-19 Health Protection Board is responsible for the Local Outbreak Management Plan. It will make decisions on how outbreaks are managed, informed by local information, clinical data and scientific modelling.
Directors of public health (DsPH) also have a crucial leadership role to play ensuring that they have the plans in place as well as the necessary capacity and capability to quickly deploy resources to the most critical areas in response to coronavirus outbreaks and to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The aim of the LOMP is to provide a clear plan on how local government works with the new national NHS test and trace and ensure the Local Authority has the necessary capacity and capability to provide a fully co-ordinated approach to contain and manage local outbreaks of coronavirus.
While the plan deals with all local coronavirus outbreaks, it also identifies and prioritises preventative and early intervention measures for key settings such as care homes and schools and high-risk locations and communities to make sure they are supported.
This is a dynamic plan and will be updated as new national guidance is published or legislation changes.
The latest changes reflect the publication of the government’s COVID-19 Response – Autumn and Winter Plan 2021. They also reflect the organisation change from Public Health England to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Prevention and containment
Containing local outbreaks, while led by the local Director of Public Health, needs to be a coordinated effort working with:
- UKHSA local health protection teams
- the NHS
- social care
- district councils
- the police
- the private sector
- the community and voluntary sector
Members of the general public also have a vital role to play in reducing the spread of the virus and preventing outbreaks. This includes following national guidance and advice about:
- sticking to the social distancing guidelines
- following good hand and respiratory hygiene practices
- having a test if displaying symptoms
- self-isolating if instructed to do so