Somerset's Local Outbreak Management Plan
Somerset cases continue to remain low compared to other parts of the country, but Coronavirus is proving to be a disease around clusters and outbreaks.
As the national alert level is reduced and lockdown measures further eased – and if the public do not strictly adhere to protection measures – there are likely to be more localised outbreaks across the County.
All Local Authorities were tasked with producing a Local Outbreak Management Plan by the end of June now the emphasis has moved away from national lockdowns to a local response. The Plan sets out how Somerset County Council and partners will actively engage with Somerset residents, businesses, visitors and communities to keep cases down and reduce further spread if outbreaks occur. The Plan will be overseen by a new Somerset Local Outbreak Engagement Board, chaired by Council Leader David Fothergill.
The priorities of the Plan are:
Prevention of outbreaks, especially at high risk places like food processing plants. Planning continues for best-case and worst-case scenarios.
Access to adequate testing. The main testing centre is at Taunton racecourse, other temporary testing centres will be set up at different dates in Yeovil, Minehead, Street, Dillington and later Frome. These will allow anyone with possible symptoms to be tested, postal testing will also be available. There may be a need for more localised testing if outbreaks occur in businesses or schools.
Contact tracing. The national system is not reaching all positive cases so Somerset is working with Public Health England looking for a more flexible model. It may become part of a national project for people without English as first language and for those without access to the internet.
Response to any outbreak. There is no legislation in place at present to lock down on a local level. Somerset will continue to work on a consensus basis but legislation may follow to change the Covid Act passed in March, thereby allowing local lockdowns.
For more information on the plan click here