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Local Outbreak Control Plans

As we move into the government's next phase in tackling COVID-19 it's really important we have a local plan that sets out how we will respond to and manage any potential outbreaks. That's where local outbreak control plans come in.

Plans will look at how we identify and contain any potential outbreaks and what this might mean for residents, businesses, communities and visitors.

Our plans set out how we will prevent potential outbreaks, and where this is not possible, minimise the spread of COVID-19 infection across the Dorset Council and BCP Council areas. Working in partnership is crucial to help prevent the spread of the virus and respond quickly.

While the response to outbreaks will be led by the local Director of Public Health, success will require a co-ordinated partnership response. This will involve numerous agencies working together.

Managing outbreaks in workplaces, specific settings such as schools and care homes and within the community is not new and is a core function of public health and environmental health. Arrangements to manage local COVID-19 outbreaks will build on these existing plans.

We have two outbreak control plans one for Dorset Council and one for BCP Council.

Governance

Local outbreak control plans will be overseen by our Health and Wellbeing Boards. The boards have representatives from all local public sector agencies and the voluntary and community sector.

The responsibilities of the board include:

  • Political oversight of the local delivery of plan and response
  • Communicating and engaging with residents and communities

The day to day management of the plan will be co-ordinated through an Our Dorset COVID-19 Health Protection Board chaired by the Director of Public Health, Sam Crowe.

Decisions based on data

The need for local, timely and high-quality data and surveillance is a critical factor in helping the Our Dorset COVID-19 Health Protection Board to make informed decisions.

We are lucky that the number of cases of COVID-19 has been and still is a lot lower in Dorset than in other parts of the country.

We really appreciate the hard work and commitment that our residents have shown in response to the “stay at home” guidance and social distancing advice.

The government uses the R rate to set the alert level for the country, but the R rate is not accurate with low numbers like ours. Instead of just focusing on R, we’re looking at early warning signs like the number of people contacting 111 or their GP because of symptoms, a surge or significant increase in our local number of cases, and the number of contacts that are being identified through the NHS Test and Trace service.

Read more about the plans which are published on Dorset Council and BCP Council websites.

The plans will be developed over the coming days and weeks to include more details on how areas should respond if an outbreak occurs.