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A plan to supress future COVID-19 outbreaks in Richmond upon Thames has been published this week.

The Government has instructed all local authorities to devise Local Outbreak Management Plans (LOMP) to prevent and control local outbreaks of the virus.

Richmond Council, which has a statutory role to protect health, will lead the response to local COVID-19 outbreaks through its Director of Public Health and will work with the regional Public Health England health protection team and local partners.

The Council wants to remind residents, that despite national reports, the number of confirmed cases currently in the borough remains low. The Government has now published (late 2nd July) Pillar One and Pillar Two combined figures showing that since the start of the pandemic - Richmond upon Thames has seen a total of 531 confirmed cases. See the latest figures here.

However, whilst the borough is NOT currently at risk of a local lockdown, it is important to remain vigilant and continue to follow the national guidance. This plan would help the Council respond to any outbreaks - should they occur in the future.

Shannon Katiyo, Director of Public Health for Richmond upon Thames, said:

“I want to reassure local residents that we are working hard to help prevent and control outbreaks of COVID-19 here in Richmond upon Thames.

“Protecting the health of the public is one of our key priorities and this new local outbreak management plan is the next phase of controlling the spread of coronavirus and encouraging people to get tested and cooperate with NHS Test and Trace. The plan allows us to act fast as we receive local information and to manage and prevent the spread of outbreaks as lockdown measures are relaxed.”

The Council has been given £858k by the Government to implement its tailored outbreak management plans, which will focus on seven key themes. These include:

  1. Care homes and schools
  2. Planning for prevention and management of outbreaks in other high-risk places, locations and communities
  3. Ensuring local testing capacity
  4. Leading contact tracing in complex settings
  5. Integrating national and local data for scenario planning and responding fast to outbreaks
  6. Supporting vulnerable local people to get help to self-isolate
  7. Establishing local boards to oversee the prevention and control of Covid-19.

The Council will use the national test and trace services in the borough, including the regional testing centre at Twickenham Stadium and local mobile centres, to reduce the spread of the infection.

The Council will use its own local knowledge and that of partners and third sector groups to quickly identify and manage new outbreaks and identify vulnerable people who may need support.

Cllr Piers Allen, Chair of the Adult Social Care and Housing Committee, and Chair of the Richmond Health and Wellbeing Board, added:

“Although nationally the number of COVID-19 cases is falling and our local numbers remain low, we are acutely aware that we are far from the end of this crisis and there is potential for further spikes in the disease. We have already seen this in Leicester.

“We therefore have to do everything we can to ensure that here in Richmond we put a lid on any new, future, outbreaks as soon as they occur. We are fortunate to have the regional coronavirus testing centre located in the borough and that will allow us to very quickly establish if we have any new outbreaks and to then carry out a rapid track and test process.

“It is important to note that we all have our part to play in combatting this virus. Everyone has to keep following the Government advice, keeping their distance and washing their hands, whilst we continue to keep the cases at a low level.”

To see the Local Plan, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/local_outbreak_plan

– from a Richmond Council press release - 3 July 2020