What is being called a ‘COVID Health Protection Board’ is being set up to monitor for and respond to any potential coronavirus outbreaks in Dorset.
Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Councils, will chair the Board, which will look at the number of cases in the county and where they are, monitoring for any rises and patterns.
The Director of Public Health is also responsible for managing local outbreak management plans for both council areas, which set out how local agencies will identify, respond to and contain any local outbreaks.
He said: ‘It’s really important that we use this time to prepare for the future. Our outbreak management plans are crucial as we start to see society get going again. The Health Protection Board will ensure everyone knows exactly what they need to do if we start to see a rise in cases or outbreaks in particular settings.’
The COVID Health Protection Board will work closely with businesses and organisations in various sectors such as care, tourism, hospitality and manufacturing to make sure preventative measures are in place to keep the public safe.
Environmental Health Officers from BCP and Dorset Councils have been advising local businesses, including shops, cafes and salons, on how to reopen safely in line with government guidance.
Health and Wellbeing Boards for each council area oversee the local outbreak management plans, and are made up of representatives from all local public sector agencies involved in the response to COVID-19, as well as colleagues from the community and voluntary sector.
The Health and Wellbeing Boards work alongside Dorset’s COVID Health Protection Board. They give political oversight of the delivery of the local outbreak management plans and have a lead role in community engagement.
Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: ‘It’s vital our communities have confidence we will protect them in the event of a rise in cases. With community representatives on the board we can not only reassure local people but involve them too, and that is absolutely crucial.’
Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council, said: ‘Dorset’s Health Protection Board will ensure that everything possible is being done to prevent, monitor and respond to any local COVID-19 outbreaks. I hope this gives reassurance to local residents and communities.’