Why we need an outbreak plan
We need an outbreak plan because:
- we want to keep our residents as safe as we can from COVID-19 while treatments improve and the numbers of fully vaccinated residents increases
- new variants are anticipated which are likely to need local action to prevent spread
- building on local knowledge and trusted partnerships means that our local plan adds to national programmes
Care homes, schools and higher risk settings
Prevent and manage outbreaks in specific higher risk individual settings.
Higher risk places, locations and communities
Prevent and manage outbreaks in other high-risk locations, workplaces and communities.
Local testing capacity
Deploy local testing and collect capacity in line with current government focus.
Deliver contact tracing in support of the national scheme to improve outbreak identification and rapid response.
Make sure there is ongoing access to the right local data to enable the other themes and prevent outbreaks.
Communication and engagement
Take local actions to contain outbreaks and communicate with the general public.
Keep our workforce safe.
Managing risks locally
COVID-19 is transmitted largely in droplets from breathing, talking or coughed out by people who are infected.
Key protection measures to prevent spread include:
- isolating infectious people
- keeping a social distance
- wearing a face covering when required or in crowded areas
- washing hands often
- increasing ventilation
Some people seem to become more ill as a result of being infected with COVID-19. These people need extra protection.
Some settings are more risky. For example where infectious people are being cared for, where social distancing and isolation are more challenging or where there are people at particular risk of harm from COVID-19.
COVID-19 spreads more easily in the winter and we need to be prepared.
In Bracknell Forest we have developed focused strategies for higher risk settings.
Actions that might be taken
The following actions might be needed during an outbreak:
- enhanced monitoring of people isolating
- specific advice on personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control measures
- contact tracing
This might also include:
- alert messaging
- focused testing of people with and without symptoms
- special testing facilities set up
- encourage uptake of the vaccine
- closure of premises
- restricting visiting
- cancelling events
- closing playgrounds or other facilities
How we will respond to a local outbreak
We monitor data on cases and risks closely which helps us to identify outbreaks early.
We support our residents to stay safe, encourage vaccination, face coverings, hand washing, social distancing and isolation as well as assisting those who need help to comply.
The actions we take will be those most likely to be effective, based on evidence.
We act swiftly to put local actions in place to support the UK Health Security Agency's recommendations on controlling the infection spread.
We communicate with local people and organisations to help them keep safe.
Managing a local outbreak is a team effort. It involves:
- local authorities
- UK Health Security Agency
- NHS hospitals and clinics
- the police
- local businesses
- care settings
- schools, colleges and universities
If there are cases
A risk assessment is carried out by UK Health Security Agency in the event of positive test results. They will then follow a pre-arranged process for creating an Incident Management Team, if it is needed.
The full process is available in the document below.
Contact us if you suspect an outbreak
If you think your workplace, school or other setting has an outbreak of COVID-19, please let us know by emailing CV19notifications@westberks.gov.uk. This is monitored 7 days a week, from 9am to 5pm.
Communication with residents
Our Outbreak Engagement Board is held in public every month and more often if needed, led by local councillors accountable to the public.
We communicate with residents by:
- keeping our website up to date with the latest information and guidance
- using social media and other communication channels to spread the word
- working with services, businesses and organisations to make sure information is clear and accurate
- making sure information is available in accessible formats and languages other than English
Governance of outbreaks is carried out in several ways.
Berkshire East Health Protection Board
Oversees ongoing development and delivery of the Outbreak Management Plan.
Bracknell Forest Council Outbreak Engagement Board
Listens and engages with communities to keep the public informed about COVID-19.
Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum
Will put Command and Control arrangements in place to act across a broader geography if needed.
South East Regional Oversight Group
Helps us learn from other areas.
A hierarchy of governance is available in the document below.
Our next steps are to:
- continue to refine the plan with partners
- remain agile and adapt the plan as we learn more about COVID-19
- review our plans alongside new national programmes
Download the plan
You can download a summary of the outbreak control plan below.
DocumentOutbreak control plan