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Local Outbreak Management Plan – FAQs

  • What is the Local Outbreak Management Plan?

    The Local Outbreak Management Plan (LOMP) provides a blueprint for managing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks to protect residents and support the most vulnerable. It sets out measures to prevent any further local outbreaks of coronavirus as well as action to respond rapidly to any outbreaks, limiting further transmission.  

    The plan has been developed to support the national NHS test and trace programme. It ensures the local authority has the necessary capacity and capability to provide a fully co-ordinated approach to contain and manage local outbreaks of coronavirus and will be updated as new national guidance is produced or legislation changes. 

    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.  

  • What area does the local outbreak management plan cover?

    The plan covers response to any future outbreaks in Devon but not Plymouth or Torbay, which have their own separate arrangements.

  • Do other areas have local outbreak management plans?

    Yes, the government has instructed all upper tier local authorities (county councils and unitary authorities) to produce a Local Outbreak Management Plan by the end of June 2020. Local authorities have a significant role to play in the identification and management of coronavirus outbreaks and Local Outbreak Management Plans ensure that any local outbreak is responded to swiftly, protecting communities and helping prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Why do councils need separate plans?

    Each council knows its own area and communities best and is experienced in dealing with outbreaks of infectious diseases – not just coronavirus. During foot and mouth, a similar set up was arranged.

    All of the local authorities will follow a similar plan, with three boards or groups, designed to manage the process smoothly. There is:

    • A COVID-19 Health Protection Board
    • A Local Outbreak Engagement Board – or public liaison board, which in this case is called ‘Team Devon’
    • A Local Resilience Forum

    More detail about the boards can be found in the next question.

  • What is the Devon and Torbay COVID-19 Health Protection Board?

    The Devon and Torbay COVID-19 Health Protection Board is responsible for the Local Outbreak Management Plan and coordinating the resources and numerous agencies needed to provide a swift response to managing an outbreak of the virus.

    The Board is chaired by Director of Public Health for Devon County Council, Dr Virginia Pearson, with the Director of Public Health for Torbay (Dr Caroline Dimond) and Devon County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health (Steve Brown) both serving as vice-chairs.

    Members include representatives from:

    • Public Health England
    • Clinical Commissioning Group
    • Police
    • Unitary and district councils
    • Environmental health
    • Housing
    • Fire and Rescue Service
    • Public protection
    • Social care
    • Schools, colleges and higher education
    • Economy, enterprise and skills
    • Businesses and tourism
    • Military liaison
    • Prison
    • Communities.

    There will also be advisory support from consultants in public health, public health intelligence, communications and the Devon County Council Equality Officer.

  • What is the Local Resilience Forum (LRF)?

    The Local Resilience Forum – Devon and Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly – is convened when there is a civil emergency – it is a partnership of emergency services, local authorities, health services, key utility and other agencies that can work in tandem to manage the incident. In this case, the LRF has been working on emergency planning since early 2020 to deal with the pandemic, including public information, policing and supporting communities during lockdown. This has worked well, so it will continue as part of the local outbreak plan.

  • What is Team Devon (Local Outbreak Engagement Board)?

    ‘Team Devon’ will monitor how the plan is delivered within the community and will also directly liaise with government ministers. Team Devon is also responsible for communicating and engaging with residents and communities. Devon County Council Leader John Hart chairs Team Devon.

    Members include:

    • Health and Wellbeing Board Chair,
    • Clinical Commissioning Group Chair
    • District Council Portfolio Holders
    • Police
    • Higher education
    • Devon Association of Local Councils (town and parish councils)
    • Voluntary and community sector
    • Equality and diversity
    • The Director of Public Health
    • Communications officer.

  • How do the boards work together?
  • Is anyone else involved?

    Partnership working is crucial to help prevent the spread of the virus. Containing local outbreaks successfully will need to be a co-ordinated effort with specialists from Public Health England, the NHS, social care, district councils, education, Police, private sector, employers and the community and voluntary sectors, depending on the case.

  • Who has overall responsibility for the Local Outbreak Management Plan?

    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.

  • How is an outbreak defined?

    An outbreak is generally defined as two or more cases connected in time to a specific place (not a household) for example, in a care home, school or factory.

  • What are the preventive measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus?

    We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of coronavirus. Sticking to the national government guidelines including regular hand washing, good respiratory hygiene and social distancing will all help to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    In addition, we are working with specific sectors that are known to be at higher risk of an outbreak. ‘Action cards’ have been developed for individual settings such as workplaces, schools and care homes. These cards set out how and who should be contacted if there is a suspected coronavirus outbreak within the setting and they also set out clear guidance on preventative measures bespoke to particular settings.

  • How does the LOMP help contain outbreaks of coronavirus?

    Real-time data and intelligence is the key to a rapid and effective response. Regular testing data pinpoints any potential outbreaks and the continuous data with local intelligence (from doctors, testing, hospitals etc) helps local authorities to monitor cases within their areas. As part of the Local Outbreak Management Plan an integrated data and surveillance system will be established. Our experience of other infectious diseases, and the recent outbreak has also helped us build a picture of what is happening in real time. When this evidence is used with our data, it will ensure we can develop effective responses to avoid potential outbreaks.

    In the event an outbreak is detected, we will take early invention measures to stop the spread before it escalates further into the community. The plan sets out a ‘toolkit’ of infection control measures from advising on hygiene practices, to isolation of people and premises, right through to localised lockdown (in conjunction with Public Health England) depending on the severity of the outbreak.

    In addition, national ‘action cards’ have been developed for individual settings such as work places. These cards set out how and who should be contacted if there is suspected coronavirus outbreak within the setting. They also set out clear guidance on preventative measures bespoke to particular settings.

  • Where can I find the action cards?

    ‘Action cards’ are not yet available. We will publish a link once they are.

  • What happens if there is an outbreak in the community?

    The precise action that will be taken will depend upon the complexity of the outbreak. As soon as an outbreak is detected, an Outbreak Control Team comes together to identify and agree on early intervention measures to be taken to stop the spread before it escalates further into the community. The plan sets out a toolkit of infection control measures including advising on hygiene practices, implementing public health measures, providing focused testing right through to localised lockdown (in conjunction with Public Health England). The action that is taken will depend on the severity of the outbreak and the most appropriate measures.

  • What happens if I am ill or someone staying with me is ill?

    If you suspect that you or someone staying with you has coronavirus symptoms, this person must stay at home, self-isolate and get tested. Call 119 for details on how to book and where to go for a test. If the results are positive, then the person should self-isolate. If this is someone staying with you, this may be at your home, or it may need to be back at their own home, close to their own medical support. If someone staying with you or living in your household has COVID-19, you are not required to self-isolate if you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive, or if you have symptoms.

  • What happens if I am ill while visiting the area?

    If you feel unwell and experience any symptoms of coronavirus you must:

    • stay indoors and self-isolate
    • arrange a test using your holiday address
    • notify your accomodation provider

    You can access a test by going to the NHS website or by calling 119.  You’ll either be able to book an appointment at a drive-through or walk-through test site or ask for a home test kit. Test results are issued by text or email so you do not need to wait for your results if you are due to return home before your result may arrive. You must return home the most direct way and do not use public transport.

    Do not ignore your symptoms; self-isolating and getting tested quickly is the best way you can stay safe and protect others.

    If you’re staying or travelling with others, they must also self-isolate and take appropriate action based on your test result. However they are not required to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months.

    If you need medical advice whilst you wait for your test results please contact your regular GP or call 111. In the event of a medical emergency, call 999.

    My test was positive

    If you test positive for coronavirus and feel well enough to travel and do not need to use public transport, you should return home as quickly and directly as you can. If you feel so unwell that you cannot travel or cannot avoid public transport, you should continue to isolate and call 111 for further advice. It is important that you do not use public transport. You must also tell your accommodation provider that you have tested positive.

    My test was negative

    Stay and enjoy your visit as planned but if you need medical assistance please call your own regular GP or 111.

  • What happens if a guest staying in my hotel or holiday park falls ill?

    If a guest is displaying signs of the COVID-19 virus while staying in overnight accommodation, they should inform the accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate where they are to minimise any risk of transmission, and request a test. If they are confirmed to have COVID-19, they should return home if they reasonably can. They should use private transport but only drive themselves if they can do so safely. If a guest cannot reasonably return home (for example because they are not well enough to travel or do not have the means to arrange transport), their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional and, if necessary, the local authority.

    Guests should follow government guidance on dealing with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Once the guest (and if appropriate their family) has finished the required self-isolation period and is no longer symptomatic, they should return to their main residence and continue to follow the government guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.

  • Where are the testing facilities?

    Drive through testing facilities are available across Devon, and mobile test sites are at a range of locations. If needs be, you can request a home testing kit. If you call 119, you will be given details of the nearest test facility and a test can be booked for you.

  • How will vulnerable groups be protected and what additional support will be given to these groups?

    We are working with specific at high risk and vulnerable groups to make sure they have the support and information required to stay safe. These include black and minority ethnic communities, refugees and asylum seekers, people with learning disability and autism and older people and people with underlying health conditions. The COVID-19 Health Protection Board will ensure that the health needs of these communities are addressed.

    We will continue to provide resources required to support vulnerable people who are self-isolating and will make sure that those resources are also available to those instructed to self-isolate either due to symptoms or contact tracing. We are already working with the voluntary sector and if there is a surge of requirements, further capacity to effectively respond to outbreaks will be requested through the Local Resilience Forum.

  • How are higher risk settings protected?

    We are working with specific sectors (care, health, education etc) as part of the Local Outbreak Management Plan to make sure that those at higher risk of an outbreak have the resources to implement preventive measures in the first place and also know what to do if there is a suspected outbreak. As part of the national public health programme, ‘action cards’ have been developed for individual settings such as workplaces. These cards set out how and who should be contacted if there is a suspected coronavirus outbreak within the setting. They also set out clear guidance on preventative measures bespoke to the setting.

  • How does this work link with NHS test and trace?

    When someone tests positive for coronavirus then the NHS test and trace service is notified. There are three tiers of contact tracing:

    Tier 3. National contact tracers who will make initial contact and provide advice to those testing positive and those they have been in contact with.

    Tier 2: More complex than tier 3, such as an outbreak in a community setting that requires an additional risk assessment and support by trained health care professionals.

    Tier 1: A complex outbreak that occurs within a setting such as a school or care home. Local Health Protection Teams will work with local partners to contain and undertake contact tracing.

    Local authorities will be involved in Tier 1 events, as the knowledge and resource of local partners will be key to responding quickly in order to minimise spread.

  • What is an Incident Management Team?

    In the event of a suspected or confirmed outbreak, the local authority will set up an Incident Management Team to assess the incident and agree any initial infection control measures required to control the outbreak. The team will be made of representatives who have the knowledge and skills specific to the affected setting.

  • What is an Outbreak Control Team?

    In the event of a complex outbreak it might also be necessary to set up an Outbreak Control Team in addition to an Incident Management Team. It is usually the Local Health Protection Team (Public Health England) who will declare the need to set up an Outbreak Control Team. The team is usually chaired by a Consultant in Public Health from the Local Health Protection Team. While membership will vary (depending on the setting), it will usually consist of a Public Health Consultant from the Local Authority Public Health team, a public health specialist from the local authority, a communications lead and a representative from the outbreak setting.  If this is within a care home, for example, it is likely to be the care home manager, or in a school, the school principal. It is the role of the Outbreak Control Team to agree the appropriate intervention measures to put in place and how this is communicated to key people within the setting and/or their carers.

  • What happens if I live in Devon but work outside the area covered by the LOMP?

    If you are required to take specific actions in the event of a local outbreak, these will be given to you at the time by contact tracers or team in charge of managing the outbreak. It is important you follow their advice to prevent the spread of coronavirus

  • As this is a plan of ways of working – when will you be setting out specific actions?

    The LOMP sets out a rapid response cascade for all potential local outbreaks. Specific actions will be unique to each case and therefore the plan focuses on providing consistency of response while offering flexibility in the exact actions implemented. The plan does provide a toolkit of infection control measures including advising on hygiene practices, implementing public health measures, providing focused testing right through to localised lockdown (in conjunction with Public Health England) depending on the severity of the outbreak and the most appropriate action.

  • How is this funded?

    Nationally £300million has been allocated for local authorities to support the additional public health capacity required to develop and implement the plans. Devon County Council’s share of the Local Authority Test and Trace Service Support Grant Determination is £2,618,508.

  • How is transparency ensured?

    We will be open and transparent, sharing the most up to date science, evidence and data to colleagues, wider partners and the public.

  • How do you engage with the public?

    Providing up-to-date guidance, information and advice to our communities will be key to the delivery of the plan. Team Devon will work within the community to gather evidence that will inform decision-making. The website will be updated as new guidance comes online and we will be looking at a variety of ways to keep the public informed.

  • Devon is a beacon council, what does this mean?

    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.

  • How are you going to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan?

    The aim is to keep outbreaks under control and prevent spread. Regular surveillance of local data will provide the insight needed to assess the effectiveness of the plan. The plan itself is also not set in stone and will evolve as new research and policy is produced, ensuring that it continues to protect and support our communities.

  • Do I still need to follow government guidance?

    Yes, absolutely. Government guidance and social distancing will still need to be followed. We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert.

  • How can I stay up-to-date?

    Regular updates will be provided on the Devon County Council news centre.