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Agenda item

Covid-19 Update

Report of the Chief Executive

Minutes:

Councillor Philip Whitehead, Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Economic Development, MCI and Communications presented the report which provided a brief summary of the key activities to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in Wiltshire since the last update to Cabinet in October 2020.

 

The Leader explained that since the report had been produced and published, the government had announced national restrictions on 31 October,2020 to be considered by Parliament on 4 November, 2020 which have created additional resource pressures in what was already a challenging operational context. The Strategic Coordinating Group, leading the COVID-19 response in

Wiltshire had been stood up, along with other tactical officer groups to address the challenges presented by the latest restrictions, rising infection rates and the impact on Wiltshire communities.  He thanked officers for their continued resilience during this pandemic and for managing the additional pressures placed on them in preparation for the lockdown from 5 November 2020. He also commented on the health and wellbeing of officers and that some may contract Covid-19 and the impact this could have on the provision of services.  Cllr Whitehead appealed for the public to be understanding during this time, especially for those staff on the ‘front line’. 

 

Officers provided updates of their service areas, as detailed in the report, covering the following areas - Test and Trace, outbreak management, safe spaces, community spaces, care homes, social care, education, economy, safeguarding and organisational recovery programme.

 

Cllr Graham Wright, Chair of the Wiltshire Covid-19 Response Task Group referred to Briefing Note 20-34 – Return to Streamlined Overview and Scrutiny Arrangements, he assured members that although Select Committees were being stood down during the additional restrictions in November, 2020 the report of the Global Warming & Climate Emergency Task Group would be publicly available shortly. Scrutiny was still a high priority and being conducted through the COVID-19 Response Task Group.

 

In response to questions from Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrats about (i) the availability and delivery of PPE; (ii) Preparations for admissions to Care Homes from hospital; (iii) Support for the most vulnerable; and (iv) compliance and enforcement activity. Cllr Whitehead and Officers explained that (i) The supply and delivery of PPE would not be an issue on this occasion as stocks of the equipment were high; (ii) Measures are in place to manage admissions to Care Homes from hospital; (iii) Work continues with the CCG and a number of bids for additional funding towards support for the vulnerable have been or would shortly be submitted; and (iv) Compliance activity is undertaken through engagement and education.

 

Comments arising from the general discussion included:

·       Implementation of the Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 and self isolation and how to apply for the funding

·       Support for businesses required to close due to the implementation of restrictions

·       Government support for businesses benefitting from business rate relief and council tax relief

·       Clarification on further support from the government in relation to loss of income from car parks

·       Testing of residents prior to admission to Care homes

·       Support offered to families who have relatives in Care Homes and unable to visit during the lockdown restrictions

·       Local support for test and trace activity

·       Programme of flu inoculations during the lockdown restrictions

·       Provision of free school meals during half term holidays and notifications to schools of the Councils support for this action.

·       The take up of free school meal vouchers

·       The provision of free school meals during the Christmas holidays

·       Normal operation of dentists, doctors, vets and opticians during the lockdown restrictions.

 

Resolved:

1.    Continue to encourage all residents to download the NHS Test and Trace app on their phone.

 

2.    Note changes in national policy and the work underway within the four Recovery Coordinating Group themes and on Organisation Recovery.

 

Reason for Decision:

Wiltshire Council continues to work closely with partners to deliver in a rapidly

changing environment.

Supporting documents:

 

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