COVID-19 Outbreak Control

Current situation updates

The Barrow Borough Council area is at HIGH ALERT for COVID-19.

All other parts of Cumbria are at MEDIUM ALERT for COVID-19.

Find out more about the rules for different COVID-19 alert levels

Following a doubling of the new COVID-19 cases within Cumbria over the last week, new public health advice for the county has now been introduced. 

By law in England people must not meet indoors or outdoors in groups of more than six people. In addition, from 1 October 2020 people living in Cumbria are being strongly advised that groups of six should include people from no more than TWO households.

The new advice was agreed by local political leaders through the county's Area Outbreak Board, following recommendations from the multi-agency Health Protection Board. It will be reviewed on an weekly basis by the Health Protection Board.

The new advice is not law and the exemptions that apply to the national 'Rule of Six' still apply; exceptions such as:

  • for work
  • the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • registered childcare,
  • education or training
  • exercise classes
  • organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity, and supervised sporting activity (indoors or outdoors) for under-18s. 

Full guidance available on the Government website

The number of COVID-19 cases in Barrow-in-Furness have increased rapidly over the past 10 days.

Local leaders are now taking action to slow the spread of infection, with the aim of avoiding national Government intervention and more restrictive local lockdo wn measures.

There is already a legal limit of 6 on the number of people that can meet in groups indoors or outdoors. In addition, in the Barrow Borough Council area people are now being strongly advised that groups of 6 should be limited to people from no more than 2 households at any one time.

This is to reduce the level of social contact between different people and reduce the risk of infection spreading, as well as helping improve the effectiveness of local contact tracing efforts.

Public Health leaders are clear that similar measures could be implemented in other parts of the county if the rate of infection continues to increase in these areas.

Further to this public advice, additional measures are being advised in hospitals, care homes and schools. These are:

  • Visitor restrictions at Furness General Hospital (already in place)
  • Visitor restrictions in care homes (from Monday) to minimise risk to vulnerable adults and people living with physical and/ or learning disabilities
  • Restrictions on all non-esstenial visitors to schools (from Monday)

The new measures have been put in place following publication of data from week ending 11 September which showed Barrow had the highest number of new positive cases in Cumbria (29) for the second week running, up from zero cases just a few weeks ago. Considering initial data from the current week as well, the infection rate is now at nearly double the national average, at around 60 per 100,000. Furness General Hospital has also seen an increase in COVID-19 patients with 15 currently receiving treatment. In tandem with local contact tracing information which shows many of the positive cases are unconnected to one another, this data has prompted today's decision.

The advice will be in place for the next two weeks, after which it will be reviewed.

COVID-19 testing for school pupils

Demand for COVID-19 testing is high. Some parents are reporting that there are no test appointments available locally when they try to book a test for their child using the national system.

We have worked with the local NHS to make more testing available for school pupils, if needed.

Here's what to do:

  • Try to book a test on the national website or by calling 119. If no slots are available, try again later in the day or early in the morning. Test slots are uploaded in batches, so appointments may become available if you try again. 
  • If you still cannot book a test on the national system, contact your child's school. They will check that your child does have COVID-19 symptoms and if they do then the school can make a referral to the local NHS system. You will then be contacted direct to make arrangements.
  • This is only available for school pupils. If parents need a test for themselves it must be done on the national website.

Work is underway locally and nationally to increase testing capacity further for everyone.

COVID-19 testing advice - Barrow

There has been a lot of online comment about COVID-19 testing in relation to an event at Barrow Raiders on Sunday.

We would like to clarify the following:

  • We are aware of someone who has tested positive who attended the event
  • We have contacted everyone in the group the person was with and advised them all to self-isolate
  • There is no need for other people who attended this to get tested
  • The event was outdoors, with reasonable social distancing observed, so the risk to the wider public attending is low
  • However as usual please do keep an eye out for developing any symptoms, and if you do, please get a test.

Find out more about how to get tested.

Outbreak Control Plan

The local Outbreak Control Plan describes Cumbria's approach to managing outbreaks of COVID-19. It sets out how, in co-ordination with the national NHS Test and Trace system, the county will manage the ongoing risk posed by COVID-19 through:

  • public information
  • infection prevention and control
  • case finding
  • testing and contact tracing
  • outbreak management 
  • and, if necessary, implementation of local restrictions.

The plan also explains who will make decisions about local measures, and how they will be made, including the important role of local Health Protection Boards.

It is in 3 parts:

  • Part 1 describes the overall strategy and approach being taken
  • Part 2 sets out the detail of the operating procedures that each bit of the local system will follow
  • Part 3 lists key contact details that may be required by people responding to incidents and outbreaks.

Parts 1 and 2:

The plan reflects a multi-agency response to COVID-19. As such it has been developed through the Cumbria Local Resilience Forum (CLRF) and forms part of the overall Cumbria Emergency Plan (CEP) framework.

Health Protection Board minutes

The purpose of the Health Protection Board is to take overall responsibility for the multi-agency management of the emergency and to establish the policy and strategic framework within which lower tier coordinating groups will work.
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