Howard, Dr Al, David, Dr Henny

Well good afternoon everyone

I want to brief you on important decisions at COMEN

But first here’s David with the numbers…

NUMBERS *snapshot*

  • 1 new case
  • 294 active cases
  • 4 hospital admissions
  • 0 in ICU

DAVID

Vax Programme – 52,000 doses and over 36,000 have received their first dose

All priority groups have had their letters – I urge you to register as quickly as possible if you’ve received your letter

Just a reminder: if you’re Covid positive or in isolation, do not attend your appointment and get it rearranged. 

Let’s not forget about other medical problems in the pandemic. Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about something out of the ordinary, do not delay in getting assistance. 

HOWARD

Data is heading in the right direction, suggesting that it’s under control.

Ideally, we want elimination. 

It’s starting to feel like the beginning of a new chapter. I know people will be disappointed about the single case of an unknown source earlier in the week. I was too. 

We have reasonable assurance that this chain is not contained. We always knew there would be a risk of odd cases popping up. 

But cautiously optimistic.

DR HENNY

Community case we couldn’t link back to earlier this week – we’re confident we have contained it.

Still a risk of wider risk within the community

Need everyone to remain vigilant.

Can’t guarantee that we have closed off all chains in the community.

The curves are coming down nicely and quickly – lovely to see.

The positivity rate is very low – indicates we’re not missing big pockets of transmission in the community.

WHO recommends if we get under 5% or less positivity rate, it’s time to think about reducing restrictions.

COMEN

Status of the hospital – it’s starting its journey back to business

We know that not seeing your mates and fam has been hard 

We need to consider mental health 

We need to balance this with our wish for our way out of lockdown to be a one-way journey. 

BABY STEPS

but

First thing tomorrow morning you can meet others outdoors (up to 10 people)

This is ONLY outdoors, do not get tempted to pop indoors. 

Please remember to social distance and wear a face covering.

Changes from 6th April

  • Outdoor construction can resume
  • One person can work per room in a vacant property
  • Garden centres can reopen

As long as face coverings and social distancing are in place. 

DR AL

We’re on the road to recovery

Important that one step forward doesn’t mean two steps back

Sorry for the stress that closing schools, preschools and UCM has caused

Aim to open all schools on Monday, April 12 after Easter Holidays

But all depends on the infection rate 

If the infection rate is high we will have a phased approach

  • Which would mean to open primary schools on April 13, initially just for vulnerable and children of essential workers
  • High schools will open on April 13, initially just for year 11 and 13 
  • These year groups may be to be staggered or part-time for school- rest online. This will be down to individual schools. 

Nurseries and playgroups – hoping to open at the same time as schools

HOWARD

Please WFH

Please wear a face covering

Lockdown isn’t over but we will keep reviewing the measures

Tomorrow we can resume some outside activities

Hopefully, we can have the kids back in school on April 12

Fingers crossed we can reopen on April 19

Today is the anniversary of the island’s first death from the pandemic – I’m thinking of everyone who has lost a loved one of the last year

Questions

Paul H – What time period without unexplained cases is needed to leave lockdown? Has the unexplained case set the clock back to zero?

HQ – Hoping we can trace this last case. We always say in a perfect world, 21 days without cases in the community but if our vax programme has covered all groups 1 – 9 then we will review the situation. But we go by data.

Dr H – It’s not a mechanical equation. Need to look at all the data. 

HQ – We’re on a journey Paul

Paul H – Dr Al what provisions are in place for safeguards in school?

Dr Al – Thanks for your question. Primary schools, hard to stop kids hugging each other etc. Create small groups, like education bubbles. Hand hygiene etc. Secondary schools, handwashing and face coverings. The best line of defence is if you don’t feel well, don’t come in. No plans to do routine testing. It’s distressing for kids, but always under review. Teachers can get tested when they like. If you don’t feel well, dial 111 and get tested and stay home.

Rob – Outdoor gatherings, group of 10. Does it always have to be the same group or can it be different groups?

HQ – It can be different but it can only be 10 people, keep your distance, face mask on. CANNOT go into the property

Rob – Mental Health referrals have risen in the last year. What are you doing to support this?

David – We’ve made online resources available, looked at staffing and have had extra funding and we’re also looking at self-help.

Alex – People are looking to book holidays. What thoughts have you had on vaccination passports?

HQ – Up to companies to see if they want a vax passport. 

David – If countries require some proof to say they have had the jab then we can provide proof for them. We are not introducing vax passports.

Alex – All care home residents have been vaxxed now, will you change restrictions? 

David – Not at the moment. Good that they’ve been vaxxed but they’re still building their immunity.

Simon – Do we still have vax delivery concerns?

David – We’ve always planned accordingly, we are on track and we will hit our priority group targets.

Simon – Any trend in the category of the person catching the virus? 

Dr H – Can’t comment on individual cases, no specific type of person. Dispersed over age groups. Generally working-age adults, but no links after that.

Sam – In terms of businesses, are outdoor fitness groups allowed to have groups of 10?

HQ – Not aware, have to get back to you. I’ll take advice.

Dr H – We haven’t moved to bring that provision back yet, but did a lot of work with MSR where we worked to look at different risks and mitigations. Haven’t relaxed this yet.

Dr Al- Good question. We have kept closed tennis courts and playgrounds so we can do this in careful steps. I know people want things like boot camps open: can we just wait? So we don’t have to go backwards.

HQ – BABY STEPS

Sam – Indoor working. One person per room in a vacant building, when will sole traders be able to go into occupied buildings?

HQ – Not there yet. BABY STEPS. We’ll try and get on it in the next week or two, depending on the cases.

Paul – Any truth in hub schools at NSC for healthcare workers.

Dr Al – Wonderful sources, Paul. It’s a childcare facility. It’s been clear the strain on Noble’s Hospital. We set up a facility for critical workers like people who work in ICU, who need childcare so they can go to work. This will be open during Easter. It’s got high ceilings, ventilation and small groups. 

Paul – Dr Rachel Glover is DYNAMITE. Certain people advised COMAN that shouldn’t have been- do you agree?

HQ – Haven’t heard the evidence, Paul. We have a consultant who has been advising us about genomics. Let’s see the evidence, and then we will make a statement. 

DA – I don’t accept that. People are qualified, not anyone can advise COMEN. 

CLOSING

Enjoy your Easter weekend

If you deckchair, you might need a blanket. 

Keep the hugs for another time- hopefully soon. 

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