Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Notes of the Previous Board Meeting - 18 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

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The notes of the previous Board meeting on 18 November 2021 were endorsed.


Urgent Items from the Health Protection Board

The Director of Public Health to report.

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



NHS Update

The Chair of the CCG to present an NHS update, including pressures and COVID related pressures, vaccinations and boosters, rollout and any other key messages to promote.

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The Chair of the CCG presented an update on the NHS including vaccinations and the Booster rollout. 


Booster campaign:- before Sunday’s announcement, Devon had delivered 400,000 Boosters to those eligible (800,000).  There was now an expectation to deliver 112,000 per week from now until the end of December; previously 55,000 were being delivered so now the number of weekly boosters had to double.  Additional capacity had been added to the booking system and large vaccine centres were extending their opening hours across Devon – Home Park Plymouth stayed open until 2am until the last person received their booster. 


The NHS had been inundated with offers of volunteers in Devon which was fantastic. 122 GP practices were being brought in as part of the booster campaign; some were under pressure to deliver needs in their community and staff shortages, so would be working with those surgeries.  Community Pharmacies were also part of the booster campaign, along with the Hospital Hub opening in North Devon and Piloting a drive through service at Greendale.  The flow of traffic at Greendale had been an issue but overnight workman had laid an access road and more parking spaces over one night to help tackle the backlog of people arriving for walk-in appointments.


Managing housebound individuals: 10,000 individuals required the booster vaccine who were housebound. The 15min observation period previously required for the Pfizer vaccine had now been lifted which meant teams visiting at home could now do more each day.  Community nurses were also assisting ,so all those housebound would be covered and should be boosted by Christmas Day.


NHS providers had been supportive of the booster delivery rollout as a priority for the next 3 weeks.  It would not impact on emergency care, and any redirected resources for the booster campaign would not be taken from emergency care, both primary and secondary care. However, there would be a stepping down of some routine appointments and messages would be going out to the public to advise of this.


People were encouraged to book their COVID Booster online where possible, drop-ins were available, but booking was helpful.


The impact of Flu on NHS services was always significant at this time of year as well, so it was important to also push the flu vaccine at the same time as COVID vaccine.


Delivering Booster – in 3 days Devon had delivered 43,000 vaccines and was therefore on target to achieve rollout targets. People were getting their Booster which was very positive, and with the extra resources Devon was on target to achieve booster jabs by end of December.


There were 131 individuals in hospital as of 15 December, some of those were vaccinated and most were stable – 18 on intensive care. The RD&E had a COVID capacity of 150 beds, as a result there was not a lot of scope to cope with an increase in COVID patients and still be able to do other emergency care.  Staff absences also presented an issue and this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Report / Presentation from the Health Protection Board

A Report from the Health Protection Board on current issues, data and matters for information, including numbers of cases, vaccine data and any information pertaining to the Omicron variant (if available).

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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 – there were 78,610 daily positive cases, a steep increase of 19% in a week.  Deaths within 28 days: 805, numbers were currently stable currently but were usually 2 weeks behind case numbers, therefore they were likely to increase.  Patients in hospital: 5,964, an increase of 10% in the last week, again this lags behind case trends. Testing levels: 8,700,982, increased by 15% over the past week.

-       Devon – 4,899 cases over the past week (above the national average), between 4th to 10th December, again this would have increased in the past few days.

-        The picture in Devon recently showed cases decreasing over past week (against national trend), due to the previously high levels of Delta cases reducing.  It was likely that Omicron cases would now significantly increase, with metropolitan areas like London experiencing significant case numbers, and it was expected over the next few week cases would also increase in Devon. 

-       Devon was still experiencing higher cases rates in the younger age groups 0-19 years of school age population, as well as the working age population.

-       Highest case rates were in the South Hams area, Newton Abbot, Tiverton, Barnstaple, Plymouth and Torbay.


The dashboard pages could be found here.


UK summary: Daily summary | Coronavirus in the UK (

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

Devon detailed age breakdown: Cases in Devon | Coronavirus in the UK (

Interactive Map: Interactive map of cases | Coronavirus in the UK (


Key messages from Government included:


-       There were now two viruses, a reduction in the Delta variant and an increase in Omicron now becoming the dominant variant;

-       Booster vaccinations do provide higher level of protection, but it was unclear if hospitalisation rates would rise in response to Omicron at this stage, however it was important to remember that even a small increase in hospitalisation would put significant strain on Devon hospitals.  Case rates were doubling every 2 days; and,

-       Measures – the public were advised to be careful about socialising on the run up to Christmas.


Local and National Updates

Director of Public Health to report on the latest announcements regarding the launch of the Governments ‘Plan B’ and its implications (e.g care homes).


The Head of Education and Learning will update the Board on the impacts for schools, in light of new DFE guidance.


The Head of Communities will report on the Household Support Fund, external funding to support communities and free school meals.

Additional documents:


The Director of Public Health reported on the latest announcements regarding the launch of the Governments ‘Plan B’, including:


-       The introduction of Covid passports and increased lateral flow testing;

-       A policy shift away from the previous requirement of self-isolation for close contacts. Previously if you had been double vaccinated and a close contact of a positive person, people were required to get a PCR test and isolate whilst awaiting results, and if negative could then go out. The position now was that if a person is a close contact of a positive case and is double vaccinated, they must take a Lateral Flow Test every day for 7 days, but do not need to isolate; and,

-       There had been an increase in the home delivery of Lateral Flow Tests by Royal Mail.


The Head of Education and Learning updated the Board on the impacts for schools, in light of new DFE guidance and the implications of the Plan B announcements.  Schools had not seen any significant changes as a result of Omicron, due to the high cases in Devon already had meant schools had in place enhanced measures such as face masks; therefore, there had been no changes to risk assessments.  Schools were seeing a significant increase in cases, however all remained open and operating. There had been an increase in the number of teachers testing positive, which was impacting on school’s ability to teach, with further issues around the provision of supply teachers and teaching assistants.


There continued to be some uncertainty about what will happen in January, given the changes that occurred over Christmas last year; however, schools were planning on opening on the first day of term with children either testing at home before they retuned, or operating tests on school sites.


In Devon’s colleges, home testing had continued to be effective, with students being compliant around mask wearing. For the return in January, students had been advised they must test at home before they return to college. Where there were external visitors entering college site, they had to demonstrate either a COVID passport or negative test. Colleges were on standby for any additional guidance that may come in over the Christmas break.


The University of Exeter updated with the following: there was a significant reduction in cases compared to 12 months ago and the University was not seeing any increase in case rates.  There had been a good take up of vaccines, however some small increase in the numbers of cases amongst staff due to family infection. The University was planning a winter break plan, with students now having left for Christmas.  There had also been an uptake in the demand for testing by students, with pop up vaccination centres experiencing constant queues, and compliance amongst staff and students. Constant messaging was going to students, including matters around vaccine passports and travel etc. Also reiterating COVID hygiene and reviewing corporate risk assessments and updating Outbreak Management Plans.


The Head of Communities reported on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Public Questions / Other Questions for the Board

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No further questions were raised.



Key Messages to be Communicated pdf icon PDF 226 KB

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

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


These included ’Spread Cheer not Covid’, Omicron was spreading rapidly and was in the community, so it was important to use common sense to help protect family and friends. Get the booster vaccination, get tested before meeting with others and follow national rules on face coverings.


A full script was attached to the minutes for circulation by Board Members.


Date of Next Meeting

Scheduled for 19 January 2022 @ 10.30am

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Members noted the date of the next meeting as 19 January 2022 @ 10.30am