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Helping people and communities

Protecting and supporting vulnerable people

We know from the number of local people identified within the ‘shielding’ category as a response to COVID-19 that there are many people and families who need support during this pandemic.

We know that some people and families who are instructed to self-isolate as a result of having symptoms or being identified as a close contact of a confirmed case will find this difficult and may require additional support in order to self-isolate.

Devon County Council, working with partners and the voluntary and community sector, will ensure that these people are able to find appropriate help and support.

Prevention and response plans

We know that there are some people and communities who are at higher risk during a COVID-19 outbreak. These include, for example:

  • black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
  • refugees and asylum seekers
  • people with learning disability and autism
  • older people and people with underlying health conditions

It is important the Local Outbreak Health Protection Board ensures that the health needs of those most vulnerable people and communities are addressed.

The overview in Appendix 2 also includes detail of the relevant board member lead for these areas.

While it is important that the plan can be used to respond to all local COVID-19 outbreaks we know from the data and intelligence that there are settings which are more likely to have outbreaks.

It is therefore sensible to have specific plans in place with pre-agreed actions to respond to outbreaks in these higher-risk settings.

Standard operating procedures will be created to enable a coordinated and timely system response to help contain outbreaks.

An overview of COVID-19 higher risk setting, including the role of key agencies is included in Appendix 2.

Action cards

As part of the national containment framework ‘action cards’ have been developed for individual settings such as workplaces or institutional settings.

The action cards provide details of how and who they should contact in the event they suspect they have a COVID-19 outbreak in their setting.

The action cards also provide clear guidance on how individual settings can help prevent the infection by applying existing guidance on:

  • social distancing
  • sticking to the risk-assessed safe working advice
  • cleaning hands regularly
  • disinfecting objects, surfaces and common touch points
  • cohort the workforce and minimise contacts outside of the household

The action cards will be web-based and will be produced, updated and promoted nationally and locally for individuals, businesses and organisations to download and use.

In addition to providing guidance and advice to important settings and communicating guidance and advice to the general population, both through national and local messaging, there is a need for evidence-based preventative measures to be targeted at high-risk settings.

Training and advice have been and will continue to be provided by the NHS Infection Prevention and Control Team to those who work in higher-risk settings and those working with or caring for the most vulnerable people.

High-quality, timely infection prevention and control advice is critical to help prevent the spread and contain the virus.