Devon is in a ‘good position’ if a local outbreak of coronavirus occurs, according to the county’s director of public health.
Dr Virgina Pearson was answering questions at Devon County Council’s DCC cabinet meeting on Wednesday, April 8 about the county’s Local Outbreak Management Plan.
The plan is a blueprint for managing any future outbreaks of the virus in Devon, outlining how they would be managed and how transmission would be contained.
It involves bodies including the NHS, local authorities, emergency services, schools, care providers and businesses all working closely together in partnership.
It also highlights additional support needed for those particularly vulnerable to the virus such as the elderly, those with chronic health conditions and those in vulnerable ethnic groups.
Dr Pearson also chairs the COVID-19 Health Protection Board, a committee of specialists who can coordinate a swift response to an outbreak of the virus.
Dr Pearson told the cabinet that the board has already begun meeting.
“The Local Outbreak Management Plan is a dynamic document and it is subject to change as we learn,” she said.
“We are working with partners on how we put in place these operating procedures in the event of any outbreaks, and how we test these procedures so that we are practised in how we would work should we get any outbreaks.
“Currently levels of Covid-19 within the county are very low.
“We have the second lowest cases in the national league table per 100,000 population…so actually we’re in a very positive position.”
She added: “We’ve been very fortunate in the South West. Because we’ve had the level of data that we needed for many weeks now…that’s helped us to constantly track what’s going on.
“Understanding the data and monitoring it is critical to keeping on top of what’s happening locally. It helps us with prevention and helps us with early intervention should we need it.”
As of July 8 there have been 1,190 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Devon.
There have been 234 cases in Exeter, 210 in East Devon, 205 in Mid Devon, 204 in Teignbridge, 119 in North Devon, 98 in South Hams, 71 in West Devon and 49 in Torridge.
The job of monitoring how the outbreak plan is implemented will fall to Team Devon, the Local Outbreak Engagement Board which is headed up by council leader Councillor John Hart.
Cllr Hart said: “Local government asked for the responsibility of managing any local outbreak should it occur, on the grounds that we can do the job better than London.
“It’s now up to us to make it work and this we can do with our Team Devon partnership working together for our residents.”