16.1. The Board considered a report providing an update of the results of emergency planning exercise and the plan to refresh the East Sussex Outbreak Control Plan.
16.2. The Board asked for reassurance that the system was ready this winter for another surge in COVID-19 infections.
16.3. Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health, said the COVID-19 infection rates are significantly higher now than this time last year, however, the demand COVID-19 is making on health services is nowhere near as high due to the success of the vaccination programme in providing protection to individuals. Nevertheless, the Public Health Team is constantly alert to any small changes in infection rates that look worrying, for example, last December the Team noticed the spike in infections in Kent 10 days before a similar increase was seen in East Sussex and 2 days before it was confirmed this was a new Variant of Concern. The Team also meets weekly with all partner organisations to raise any issues, or hear any they may have. The Director of Public Health added that a COVID-19 surge would happen in the context of wider winter pressures that could also need to be managed, such as seasonal flu, greater demand on hospital services, interruptions to service from poor weather, and fuel shortages.
16.4. The Board RESOLVED to:
1) note the report; and
2) agree to receive an updated East Sussex Outbreak Control Plan at its 14 December 2021 meeting.