Outbreak board monitoring Covid surges in Nottinghamshire to be disbanded

An outbreak control board which monitored Covid surges across parts of Nottinghamshire will be disbanded as the county begins to roll out its ‘living with Covid’ strategy.

By Andrew Topping
Monday, 25th April 2022, 6:33 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 10:47 pm

The board, which met to discuss major outbreaks in council-led and community settings, has not met in an official capacity since July last year, despite the surge from the Omicron variant over Christmas.

And Jonathan Gribbin, county public health director, has officially disbanded the board after recommending to councillors it should be phased down.

However, he has said Nottinghamshire Council will have the capacity to re-establish the board in the event of a future outbreak or new variant of the disease.

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Few people are seriously ill in hospital with Covid now, which has been put down to the success of the vaccine rollout.

Mr Gribbin, who led the authority’s response to the pandemic, told councillors, during the latest public health committee meeting, Covid hospitalisations are stabilising.

He confirmed there is a high level of infections countywide despite the removal of free community testing, but stated this is not translating to high levels of serious illness on hospital wards in the city and county.

Latest Government figures show Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs King’s Mill and Mansfield Community hospitals, has 111 people in its sites who have tested positive for the virus, but just one is on a ventilation bed.

Mr Gribbin said this is partly the result of the vaccination programme.

He said: “As a result of relatively high levels of vaccination across the population and the effectiveness of the vaccination programme, there are now – given a high level of infections – few people in hospital ill with Covid.

“The number of people in hospital with a diagnosis of Covid still runs at several hundred, but most are not in hospital as a result of Covid.

“There are just a handful of people in hospital on mechanical ventilation as a result of a diagnosis of Covid.

“But we have to be mindful that, in the period ahead, we may see further waves and new variants.”

Mr Gribbin told the meeting the council has about £9 million in unallocated Covid reserves which can be used to target future outbreaks or any surges of the virus.

Committee members unanimously approved disestablishing the outbreak control and engagement board.

Coun Boyd Elliott, committee chairman, said: “Covid-19 response will now be conducted on a business-as-usual basis, along with other health protection responsibilities.”