Your questions answered
To make sure your questions get answered promptly by the team, please continue to send your questions directly to email@example.com
Please can you clarify what the rules are for face to face group meetings? It appears that only six people can meet outdoors or two different households meeting indoors, however elsewhere the guidance states a group of 30 can meet indoors socially distanced.
The guidance is available on the GOV.UK website but we have summarised below.
Larger physical meetings on official council or political business can take place, but government and PHE guidance still remains to meet remotely wherever possible. The necessity of the physical meeting will need some form of documentation as laid out by the legislation (links below), including details for Test and Trace, a form of risk assessment to enable it to meet potential scrutiny and that the organiser has taken all reasonable preventative measures to limit the risk of the spread of infection.
Task groups and council meetings would be permitted under law for the purposes of a political or public body meeting, however the government guidance continues to recommend that meetings should take place digitally wherever possible. A maximum of 30 persons should attend and all guidance below should be followed. If the meeting is a private one, not in an official capacity, the general restrictions of only six people from two households/social bubbles would apply.
The full extracts of the guidance and legislation are listed below.
Where meetings are to take place in person the following guidance is given:
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020, Section 5 applies: Restrictions on gatherings.
Please provide an update for the testing portal?
We have been made aware the national online portal to book COVID-19 tests is experiencing problems as it has reached capacity. We have no local control over this in Gloucestershire.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has advised us that the National Testing Programme is experiencing exceptionally high demand due to a number of factors such as the return of schools, and this is expected to remain high for the next few weeks. To help manage demand, testing slots are being made available the evening before for morning appointments, and on the morning for afternoon appointments. If its not been possible to book an appointment straight away, the DHSC has advised that they are continually working to make more slots available, so people should regularly check the website.
Important information on face coverings for members, staff and visitors:
- You should maintain the two metre social distancing wherever possible and from Monday 31 August, please follow these new guidelines on face coverings:
- You should wear face coverings if you are in contact with members of the public or visitors and unable to maintain the two metre social distancing, such as escorting someone to a meeting room. Once you are able to maintain the two metre distancing, such as when you are seated, you can remove the face covering.
- Visitors to our offices should also wear face coverings when they are in a public area, for example, main reception and when they are being escorted to a meeting room. We will be putting up signs to remind visitors but if you have an appointment with a member of the public, please advise them before they arrive. Again, face coverings can be removed once they are able to maintain two metre social distancing.
- Face coverings must be worn by members of the public in registry offices and libraries at all times.
However, if you or your visitor are exempt from wearing face coverings under national guidance then this still applies.
¹ The above data reflects nationally published data available here.
² This section contains information on deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in Gloucestershire and had tested positive for Covid-19 at time of death or where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. All deaths are recorded against the date of death rather than the date the deaths were announced. It is based on national NHS data published here.
³ Weekly death figures provide provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales for which data are available. From 31 March 2020 these figures also show the number of deaths involving coronavirus (Covid-19), based on any mention of Covid-19 on the death certificate. Figures by place of death may differ to previously published figures due to improvements in the way we code place of death. This figure does not include deaths of those resident outside England and Wales or those records where the place of residence is either missing or not yet fully coded. For this reason counts may differ to published figures when summed. Bank Holidays could affect the number of registrations made within those weeks.
⁴ Care homes vary in size and in the characteristics of their residents. Outbreak data is also being reported publicly here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/covid-19-number-of-outbreaks-in-care-homes-management-information. The figures here are slightly lower than our local figures due to a time lag. The number of cases (confirmed or suspected) has not been reported due to limitations in data accuracy which means comparison is not possible. This information is being used for operational purposes. As testing in care homes increases we will review whether adding this information will add additional strategic insight.
⁵ CQC publish figures on deaths where Covid-19 was suspected in the notification from the care home, as well as all cause mortality (since 10 April 2020). It is probable that not all deaths due to Covid-19 will be notified as such, conversely Covid-19 may be mentioned but not have been a contributory factor in a death). While CQC numbers are more comprehensive than local reporting, they are not currently reported by district council.
⁶ Please note that there is a possibility of last minute changes if the MTU’s are diverted to assist with outbreak control both in this county or elsewhere.