A structure is in place to make sure our response to COVID-19 outbreaks in Middlesbrough is quick and effective.
The joint Director of Public Health leads the South Tees Health Protection Board. This board is responsible for putting together and delivering our local outbreak plan.
The Health Protection Board oversees the Operational Response Team. This team looks at daily data for Middlesbrough and decides what action is needed. It also supports actions to prevent COVID-19 in complex settings.
The Health Protection Board advises and reports to the Strategic Coordination Group (SCG). The SCG is led by the Council’s Chief Executive. It is responsible for ensuring that the right resources are provided to tackle outbreaks.
The Local Outbreak Control Board is chaired by the Mayor of Middlesbrough and is responsible for communicating information to local communities.
A range of local partners sit on these boards to make sure that responses are coordinated and consistent.
Our local structure has clear links to national and regional COVID-19 response arrangements. It is joined up with responses of neighbouring councils through the Cleveland and Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forums.
Types of outbreak
There are three main types of outbreak:
Outbreaks in individual settings, such as care homes and workplaces, that are manageable at a local level.
Outbreaks that have spread to the local community and may need more support than is available locally. This is accessed through the national support and assurance team. The Local Resilience Forum will provide coordination and support where needed, particularly if an outbreak crosses Council boundaries.
Outbreaks that are not manageable locally and may have national significance. The national support and assurance team will be heavily involved, bringing national capacity.
During an outbreak
The Council has a range of legal powers which allow us to close public spaces, businesses, and venues for a specific reason and period.
We aim to take a consensus-based approach to prevention and outbreak control, but will use our enforcement powers if necessary. The government has recognised that additional powers for councils may be needed and is keeping this under review.
For Local/National or National decisions, the government will consider joint decision-making arrangement to make sure councils have access to the ministerial powers they need. This may include locking down specific sectors or geographic areas, including across boundaries.
Temporary actions that may be taken include:
- Accelerating testing of asymptomatic individuals (people with no symptoms of COVID-19) around the outbreak
- Closing certain businesses and venues (e.g. shops, restaurants, schools, offices)
- Cancelling organised events involving gatherings of people (e.g. sport, concerts)
- Closing outdoor public areas (e.g. parks, playgrounds)
- Encouraging working from home
- Limiting schools to set year groups
- Closing schools
- Issuing guidance to improve preventative measures
Partners in this local outbreak plan are:
Middlesbrough Council: overall responsibility for the plan
Andy McDonald MP: sits on the Local Outbreak Control Board
Cleveland Fire Brigade: represented on the Strategic Coordination Group
Cleveland Police: represented on the Strategic Coordination Group
Local Resilience Forum (LRF): the Council will work with the LRF on cross-border issues
Mayor Andy Preston: chairs the Local Outbreak Control Board
MFC Foundation: represented on the Strategic Coordination Group
Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger: sits on the Local Outbreak Control Board
Public Health England (PHE): the Council will work with PHE’s Health Protection Team and have access to regional and national expertise
Simon Clarke MP: sits on the Local Outbreak Control Board
South Tees NHS Foundation Trust: represented on the Health Protection Board and Strategic Coordination Group
Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust: represented on the Health Protection Board and Strategic Coordination Group
Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group: represented on the Health Protection Board and Strategic Coordination Group
Tees Valley Combined Authority: will support coordination of communications and activity across Tees Valley
Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen: sits on the Local Outbreak Control Board
Teesside University: represented on the Strategic Coordination Group
Thirteen: represented on the Strategic Coordination Group