Agenda item

Chair's Urgent Business

To receive reports on business which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be brought forward for urgent consideration.



The Leader advised Cabinet that there was one item of Chair’s Urgent Business; he invited Director of Public Health, Ruth Harrell, to provide an update on Covid 19 as follows:


Ruth Harrell (Director of Public Health) provided an update on Covid 19 and highlighted the following key points:



current Covid 19 rates in Plymouth were at 423 per 100,000, whereas the rates for the South West were on average 270 per 100,000 and the rates for England on average were 334 per 100,000;



there was a very rapid escalation in cases over the last few days; this was predominantly in 15 to 24 year olds but rates had increased across all ages.

Almost 1.5% of the city’s 15-19 year olds tested positive for covid in the last 7 days. This demonstrated how widespread the infection was, and also highlighted that young people were coming forward for testing;



the number of cases identified in the city was to be considered important because of the following:




whilst some people had hardly any symptoms, others could feel very ill from this virus;




around 15% of those who have had covid still had symptoms after 3 months – and that included people who had few or no symptoms when they had it;




when rates were high, Covid 19 could easily find its way to the more vulnerable – those who either couldn’t be vaccinated or for whom the vaccine wasn’t effective;




even for those who had been vaccinated, there was still a risk that they could catch Covid 19 and that they would become very ill. The risk was lower with vaccination – much lower – but this was a very serious illness;



there was an increase across the country in people needing hospital beds, and that was true in Plymouth also; current figures were around 15 and this was much lower than previous figures however the healthcare system was already under huge pressure and having high rates of an infectious disease was going to affect these services;



there was a time delay with people becoming very ill when contracting Covid 19 usually around 2 weeks after they were first infected; the number of cases was much lower two weeks ago, so it should be expected that the numbers would increase;



Plymouth had a higher proportion of people vaccinated in each age group than the England average for both the 1st and 2nd vaccines; overall, 81% of adults had had one dose and 61% have had both;



drop-in clinics had been well attended and initial data suggested that the youngest cohort were responding extremely well;



work continued to promote and provide vaccinations in easily accessible venues for those less likely to attend the main sites;



although legal restrictions were being dropped from Monday, the government had asked everyone to take personal responsibility for controlling the virus and taking steps to keep levels down, including isolating and being tested if symptoms developed, to use a lateral flow test regularly, being aware that wearing masks helped to reduce transmission, as did social distancing and good hand hygiene. It was highlighted that the vaccination reduced the risk but didn’t eliminate it;



SailGP was scheduled to take place in Plymouth Sound at the weekend; whilst there was no shortage of fresh air which helped to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, everyone was encouraged to follow the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance – sound systems were in place along the waterfront to allow people to spread out and it was also going to be available on YouTube;



Covid 19 was a serious disease and the government had said it was about learning to live with it – whilst many people had mild symptoms, there were still people dying and very ill in hospital so everyone was encouraged to do all they could to keep Plymouth safe.


Councillor Nicholson thanked Ruth Harrell for her update and encouraged the public to follow government guidelines and act in a responsible manner to keep themselves and others safe.