Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Notes of the Previous Board Meeting pdf icon PDF 472 KB

To receive the notes of the previous meeting from 14 January 2021.

Additional documents:


The notes of the previous Board meeting on 14 January 2021 were endorsed.


Urgent Items from the Health Protection Board

The Director of Public Health to report.

Additional documents:


The Director of Public Health advised that there were no urgent items for escalation from the Health Protection Board.


Report / Presentation from the Health Protection Board

A Report from the Health Protection Board on current issues, data and matters for information, including a presentation on the Testing Plan.

Additional documents:


The Board received a Report from the Health Protection Board on current issues, data and matters for information.


Matters included in the Report were as follows:


       Nationally case numbers had been decreasing as were the number of deaths and people in hospital;

       Devon had the lowest number of rates across the whole of UK;

       Community transmission – cases had been seen in working groups and in work places/education settings;

       National statistics – there had been an overall decline in cases (27% fall);

       There had been a fall in deaths nationally;

       Testing capacity remained high nationally;

       In Devon – there were 475 cases in the past week (59.2 rates per 100,000), with the national rate being 202 per 100,000 – Devon was the lowest in country;

       Devon had seen a reduction of cases in over 60s;

       Deaths in Devon – the past week had seen 24 deaths (3.0 per 100,000);

       Age patterns – there had been a decline in case rates across all age groups in Devon – the fall in the 80+ age category was particularly large, and this would have a positive impact on hospital pressures; and,

       6 of Devon’s Districts were the lowest in country outside of the Shetlands.


Further data and information could be found at:


Coronavirus dashboard and data in Devon - Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Daily summary | Coronavirus in the UK (


Interactive Map | Coronavirus in the UK (



A presentation on community testing was also received which highlighted the following matters:


       The target population was anyone who was required to leave the house to work, volunteers or those without symptoms;

       These were lateral flow tests which were free for the public, provided quick results, and could be used twice weekly;

       Testing sites – members of the public could book online, self swab, and receive their result via the national system using text/email;

       Principles of delivery – there was a focus on inequalities, looking at further fixed testing sites, but the system was also agile to scale up or down and change to any local or national context;

       Operational approach – there were several fixed sites across Devon and mobile units to cover rural areas;

       There were sites at County Hall Exeter, Barnstaple, Honiton, Newton Abbot, Tiverton, Exmouth Tavistock plus mobile sites in East Devon;

       Capacity – testing could be scaled up to test 5% of the Devon population if required. 120,00 tests were currently available – which equated to 37,000 per week and it was estimated that 150 would test positive;

       Learning – there had been a slow uptake, 1 positive test so far, and 63% of users had left feedback, which had been positive; and,

       Communication and engagement – clear messaging was essential, site opening details would be released once confirmed each site was viable and up and running.


Members asked questions in discussion as follows:


       Voluntary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Local and National Updates

The Director of Public Health and Chief Executive to update on national context and guidance.

Additional documents:


The Board was updated on the national announcement regarding the Government approved hotel management quarantine for individuals travelling from 33 red countries to quarantine for 10 days, to be paid for by travellers as well as two PCR tests.


New strains and variants – Operation Eagle – door knocking was taking place to encourage people to do PCR testing, where the new variant of the Kent strain had been found in South Gloucester, Bristol and London areas.  The new variant of the Kent strain had not been found in Devon so far, however the Public Health messaging remained the same.




Devon Engagement Service - equality considerations and community perceptions on Covid-19 vaccination pdf icon PDF 313 KB

Presentation led by Diana Crump to cover thoughts from diverse groups about vaccines. The Report, attached, was commissioned via the Joint Engagement Forum for Adult Health and Care.

Additional documents:


The Board received a Report from the Devon Engagement Service on Equality considerations and community perceptions of the Covid-19 Vaccination.


The Report concluded that a positive majority of respondents would not reject having the vaccine and felt that prevention was better than cure. There was a concern over any side effects and also a confusion on the practicalities of when people might get the vaccine.


The Report also outlined the implications for some communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and available resources and formats of such resources about Covid rules, lockdown and the vaccine.


It was important that vaccination centres were as accessible as possible.


Poor mental health was an increasing concern. There were some who were vulnerable, but not in a priority group, which could increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.


The messaging of the vaccine programme needed to be through trusted channels: local radio; TV advertising; government press conferences; key organisation / community / charity social media platforms; in addition to accessible information from health providers and not just a reliance on purely digital information as this could exclude many.


Discussion points with Members included:


      People’s views had changed throughout the process and lockdown (the report was a snapshot in early January).  Outcomes were now likely to have changed again.

      there was a need for accessible information, such as work around easy read guides and champions.

      Some vaccinations centres were trusted more than others – it was important that centres were in places of trust and where people felt comfortable such as health settings and libraries. Some vaccinations were taking place in Mosques and cultural settings in areas like Birmingham which had increased the uptake.


Vaccination Programme and Rollout

Chair of Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to update on the issues and key messages on the rollout of the mass vaccination programme and communications in Devon.

Additional documents:


The Chair of the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group updated the Board regarding the vaccination rollout programme, advising that:


      Community Figures showed there were under 200 patients with Covid-19 (similar to November 2020 figures);

      The Nightingale Hospital currently had 50 patients with Covid19;

      The independent sector was being used to cover elected surgery and other activity;

      There had been very positive experiences at the vaccination sites from staff and volunteers – 300,000 first doses across whole county including Plymouth and Torbay had been given;

      The first 4 priority groups were on target to be completed by 14th Feb – and there was approximately 90% uptake;

      In the over 80 age group – 93% had been vaccinated. All but 8 Care Homes had been visited – those that had not was due to significant Covid-19 outbreaks. 90% of care home residents had received the vaccine;

      Over 80% of health and social care staff had been vaccinated;

      Cohort 5 (age 65 and over) was due to start next week;

      Cohort 6 – the NHS was waiting for further government guidance on how to define clinically vulnerable and carers; and,

      Given the high proportion of older people in the County, it was a testament that Devon had kept up with other areas of the country with smaller numbers of older age groups.


The Board further received a presentation on understanding perceptions of the COVID-19 Vaccination, which covered the following:


      A series of focus groups had taken place with 1800 local people to understand the perception of the vaccine rollout and the likely uptake of the vaccine;

      The focus groups looked at what might sway people or change their minds to get a vaccine and where they received information from about the vaccine;

      The main objectives of the study was to:

     Prepare for the rollout of the national campaign by identifying target groups;

     Understand what motivated people to get the vaccination and what barriers there were;

     Identify trusted sources of information to ensure the most effective channels were used; and

     Identify what additional needs may be required to support uptake of the vaccine for people from BAME communities and those with learning disabilities and autism;

      The key findings of the study showed that 74% of respondents said they would get a vaccine (mainly women aged 45-75 years); 19% were hesitant (mainly women aged 46-65 years); 2% were resistant (mainly females under 65 years); less than 2% were rejectors (a mix of male and female aged 26-85 years);

      Trusted information sources – the NHS was the most trusted source of information, followed by GP surgeries, NHS campaigns and government briefings – social media was the least trusted source;

      Focus groups took place with those individuals with autism and learning difficulties and BAME Community groups; and,

      Recommendations were to promote the national vaccination uptake campaign; utilise trusted sources of information; provide support for those with learning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Police Enforcement Update

An update from Devon and Cornwall Police on enforcement issues and key messages.

Additional documents:


The Board received an update on police data for the 3 months from November – February, covering the Devon wide area excluding Torbay:


      There had been 3090 COVID breach reports to the police;

      486 tickets had been issued;

      The breaches predominantly related to gatherings in public/private, unnecessary travel, and second homes;

      The Force was focussed on education rather than enforcement; and,

      There would be a push on social media during half term to prevent people travelling to Devon for the holidays.


The Board discussed public confusion around lockdown rules such as driving for exercise and how far people could go.  It was noted that legislation says to stay local, but each case was taken upon its own merits and circumstances.  


Public Questions / Other Questions for the Board

Additional documents:


Other questions raised for the Board included:


Whether residents should contact the police, especially during school holidays, regarding holiday makers using airbnb’s and holiday homes, and whether additional messaging would be going out from the Council around this area. The Board were advised that the Police had a number of ways to be contacted: high priority issues should contact by dialling 999, non-urgent issues could be contacted through 101 or emailed through 101 if not urgent, available through the website.  


Key Messages to be Communicated

The Board and Head of Communications and Media to consider any key messages to be communicated.

Additional documents:


The Board and Head of Communications and Media considered the key messages coming from the meeting.


“Well done for sticking to the rules - things are looking up and we are on track, but we can’t let things slip now!”


       Case numbers continued to fall in all age groups across Devon and the county was the lowest upper tier authority in the country for cases;

       Highest case numbers were in the working age population who could not work from home; 

       Concerns remained about outbreaks related to some workplaces and cases were still being seen in care homes and other settings;

       Hospital admissions and deaths were starting to fall;

       The vaccination programme continued to gather pace and was on track to meet national targets relating to priority groups 1 – 4 by mid-February.  Most residents and staff in care homes had been vaccinated, the exception being those who had recently tested positive;

       the Vaccination programme was now rolling out to housebound residents in priority group 1; and,

       Community (asymptomatic) testing had now launched in Exeter and was starting to be rolled out across other parts of the county.


Public health messages had not changed:

·       it was essential to break the chain of transmission and get cases as low as possible;

·       people must continue to stay at home as much as possible and follow national rules around space, face and hands; and,

·       people should only go out if they really needed to, stay local and avoid situations where they might come into contact with others.


Other key messages


Hospitals and health service

    Hospitals admissions were reducing but numbers in ICUs remained stable, with a number of patients transferred into ICU from outside of Devon;

    Nightingale hospital remained open for additional capacity; and,

    111 First service was being promoted to help manage non-urgent cases and ensure people get access to care at the right time in the right place.


Mass vaccination

    Local vaccinations were being offered at all 4 main hospitals, 2 mass vaccination sites, 20 GP led local centres and some pharmacies were all now in place;

    Devon was on track to have offered everyone in the JCVI groups 1-4 a vaccination by mid-February, in line with the Government’s aim;

    Over 270,000 people in Devon CCG area had received the first dose including 92% of over 80’s (the highest number in the country);

    Now rolling out to people aged 70 and above, and those who were classed as clinically extremely vulnerable; and,

    No further volunteers were currently required to support local mass vaccine roll-out.


Key public messages:

    Being vaccinated reduced the risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID. However, people could still catch it and pass it on so it was important to continue to adhere to restrictions and public health guidance;

    People must let vaccine centres know if they could not attend their booked appointment for a vaccination to reduce wastage; and,

    Over  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Date of Next Meeting

Scheduled for 11 March 2021 @ 11.00am

Additional documents:


Members noted the date of the next meeting as Thursday 11 March 2021 @ 11.00am.