Noticeboard

Date: 13 July 2021

Reference Number: 5295

 

Cheshire West and Chester COVID-19 Outbreak Board Position Statement - Advice to Residents post 19th July 2021

As we approach 19th July and Step 4 of the national COVID road map out of lockdown, many of the existing control measures will no longer be a legal requirement for us to follow.

Our infection rates are still very high in the area and continuing to increase. Currently, Cheshire West and Chester has an infection rate of 334 per 100,000 up to 7th July, a 25% increase from the previous week, and the rates are continuing to rise. The rates are highest in the 20-29 age range and we are now seeing more people (currently over 60 admissions) requiring treatment for COVID in our local hospitals.

In the light of rising COVID-19 infections locally and changes to the national COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking those living, working and visiting Cheshire West and Chester, to go above and beyond the minimum guidance required.

Our advice will also support the recovery of our local businesses and the wider economy, as increased transmission of the virus will result in major disruptions if staff are unable to work due to being unwell with COVID-19 and legally required to self-isolate.

We are asking everyone not to see the 19th July as a reason to stop all the good practices that have helped to reduce the spread of the virus and which  have protected our communities and loved ones over the past 16 months, especially when in close contact with others.

The hugely successful mass vaccination programme has weakened the link between infection, the risk of hospitalisation and loss of life. This is incredibly encouraging, but unfortunately it is not the end of the story. It is clear that a massive rise in infections will impact on our unvaccinated children and teenagers and those who have not been vaccinated, either due to personal choice or another medical reason.

We have seen a tremendous uptake of our local vaccine programme so far, with 84% of eligible adults now having their first dose, and 66% having their second dose. We will continue to make getting your vaccine as easy as possible, taking it to areas of the lowest uptake and encouraging people to have their vital second dose.

A very real danger of significant continued transmission is the risk of yet another mutation of the virus that is both easier to catch and could render our current vaccines powerless, essentially taking us back to square one. This is something that is constantly being monitored and makes it doubly important that we continue the good behaviours. 

The people of west Cheshire have pulled together through all stages of the pandemic to look after and protect each other. It is vital that we keep this up as we go forward.

People living, visiting and working in Cheshire West and Chester are advised to:

  • Get fully vaccinated – it’s shown to be safe and effective against the virus, including new variants and is the best way to keep yourself from getting seriously ill. It also reduces the risk of passing the virus on to someone else
  • Be kind and considerate of others who may be feeling extremely nervous about the further lifting of restrictions
  • Continue wearing face coverings in crowded indoor areas where social distancing cannot be followed, such as supermarkets and on public transport, in health and social care settings, such as hospitals, care homes and GP surgeries, and where it would make others feel more comfortable
  • Continue social distancing by not unnecessarily being in crowded areas and continuing to work from home if possible
  • Try to meet others outside where possible
  • Continue to practice good hand hygiene, in particular hand washing
  • Keep getting tested – everyone should undertake twice weekly rapid symptom free testing using Lateral Flow Tests (LFT). If people experience generally associated symptoms such as a headache, a stuffed or runny nose, tiredness or weakness, aches and pains, sore throat or diarrhoea, they should take an LFT and follow up with a PCR test if the LFT test is positive. If people have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste they must stay at home and book a PCR test.
  • Self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, especially if you work in a high-risk setting.

Businesses and workplaces in Cheshire West and Chester are also asked to:

  • Continue to adhere to COVID-19 working safely guidance, including provision of washing facilities and proper ventilation with external fresh air.
  • Continue to engage with the Test, Trace and Isolate process, and increase testing if your workplace has had an outbreak.
  • Encourage your employees to get tested if they suspect they have COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate if positive.
  • Encourage your employees to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered.

 It is difficult to say when this way of living will come to an end, but we know that we are likely to have a very difficult winter ahead of us. After months of isolated lives, other infectious diseases are likely to increase. But, by maintaining our good practices in hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing, our behaviours will all have a positive effect on reducing their impact in west Cheshire. 

We are advising that these good practices continue after the 19th July, and caution where people feel uncomfortable. All of this will help in reducing the spread of the virus, protecting communities and loved ones as we have done since the start of the pandemic.

Thank you once again to all of our residents and businesses. We've done so much by all working together and playing our part. We are asking that we all continue to look after each other and turn this around.

 

Please click on "Covid Vacinations" on the right hand side for all updates

Patient leaflet Covid-19

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This practice is supporting vital coronavirus (COVID-19) planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital.

The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health, social care and other public services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the coronavirus outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations. This practice is supporting vital coronavirus planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital, the national safe haven for health and social care data in England. 

Our legal basis for sharing data with NHS Digital

NHS Digital has been legally directed to collect and analyse patient data from all GP practices in England to support the coronavirus response for the duration of the outbreak. NHS Digital will become the controller under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) of the personal data collected and analysed jointly with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who has directed NHS Digital to collect and analyse this data under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020 (COVID-19 Direction).

All GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital for this purpose under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act). More information about this requirement is contained in the data provision notice issued by NHS Digital to GP practices.

Under GDPR our legal basis for sharing this personal data with NHS Digital is Article 6(1)(c) - legal obligation. Our legal basis for sharing personal data relating to health, is Article 9(2)(g) – substantial public interest, for the purposes of NHS Digital exercising its statutory functions under the COVID-19 Direction.

The type of personal data we are sharing with NHS Digital

The data being shared with NHS Digital will include information about patients who are currently registered with a GP practice or who have a date of death on or after 1 November 2019 whose record contains coded information relevant to coronavirus planning and research. The data contains NHS Number, postcode, address, surname, forename, sex, ethnicity, date of birth and date of death for those patients. It will also include coded health data which is held in your GP record such as details of:

  • diagnoses and findings
  • medications and other prescribed items
  • investigations, tests and results
  • treatments and outcomes
  • vaccinations and immunisations

How NHS Digital will use and share your data

NHS Digital will analyse the data they collect and securely and lawfully share data with other appropriate organisations, including health and care organisations, bodies engaged in disease surveillance and research organisations for coronavirus response purposes only. These purposes include protecting public health, planning and providing health, social care and public services, identifying coronavirus trends and risks to public health, monitoring and managing the outbreak and carrying out of vital coronavirus research and clinical trials. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Data Guardian are all supportive of this initiative.

NHS Digital has various legal powers to share data for purposes relating to the coronavirus response. It is also required to share data in certain circumstances set out in the COVID-19 Direction and to share confidential patient information to support the response under a legal notice issued to it by the Secretary of State under the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI Regulations).

Legal notices under the COPI Regulations have also been issued to other health and social care organisations requiring those organisations to process and share confidential patient information to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Any information used or shared during the outbreak under these legal notices or the COPI Regulations will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis for organisations to continue to use the information. 

Data which is shared by NHS Digital will be subject to robust rules relating to privacy, security and confidentiality and only the minimum amount of data necessary to achieve the coronavirus purpose will be shared. Organisations using your data will also need to have a clear legal basis to do so and will enter into a data sharing agreement with NHS Digital. Information about the data that NHS Digital shares, including who with and for what purpose will be published in the NHS Digital data release register.

For more information about how NHS Digital will use your data please see the NHS Digital Transparency Notice for GP Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19).

National Data Opt-Out

The application of the National Data Opt-Out to information shared by NHS Digital will be considered on a case by case basis and may or may not apply depending on the specific purposes for which the data is to be used. This is because during this period of emergency, the National Data Opt-Out will not generally apply where data is used to support the coronavirus outbreak, due to the public interest and legal requirements to share information.

Your rights over your personal data

To read more about the health and care information NHS Digital collects, its legal basis for collecting this information and what choices and rights you have in relation to the processing by NHS Digital of your personal data, see:

 
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