Stopping community outbreaks and preventing a local lockdown are among the priorities detailed in Bolton Council’s Outbreak Control Plan.
A summary of the council’s local Covid-19 Outbreak Control Plan sets out measures to prevent the spread of the virus, along with steps which will be taken if local outbreaks do occur.
The plan has been led by the authority’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, with input from partners, including the local NHS and care sector.
To read an executive summary of the plan go to: https://www.bolton.gov.uk/homepage/36/health-and-care
Dr Helen Lowey said: “Many organisations have a continuing role in protecting local residents and communities from COVID-19.
“This plan sets out how outbreak control will work over the next weeks and months, including engagement with communities, ongoing infection control measures and operation of the Test and Trace service in the borough.
“With a number of businesses set to open in Bolton this weekend, we would ask everyone to continue to do their bit to help prevent the virus from spreading.”
People need to be on the lookout for symptoms and get tested if they are worried they have the virus. Anyone who tests positive will need to self-isolate along with people they have been in close contact with.
Bolton Council leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, added: “We’ve come a long way since the start of the lockdown in March and have made real progress in bringing the rate of infection down in Bolton. The number of deaths has also fallen but now is not the time for complacency.
“In recent weeks we have seen a gradual easing of lockdown measures, and this weekend a new milestone will be reached as businesses such as pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers reopen. This is a cause for celebration but if we want to avoid local lockdowns being imposed we need to remain vigilant.
“Prevention remains key, so we need to continue to practise social distancing and regular handwashing, wear a face covering on public transport and avoid gathering in large groups.”
The plan aims to allow residents to safely live with Covid-19 until a vaccine is found.
It highlights the additional measures to reduce the risk of transmission in settings such as schools and care homes - as well as to vulnerable people and groups in our community.
The plan sets out how the council will work with national government and other councils in Greater Manchester to further limit the spread of the virus and prevent a “second wave”.
And it explains how the council will manage the effects of the virus on residents, communities and businesses if a local outbreak does occur.
Effective testing and contact tracing is also critical, say Bolton’s public health chiefs, if we are to live safely during the pandemic.
Anyone who has symptoms including a new continuous cough, a raised temperature or loss of sense of smell should immediately get tested. If they test positive, all people they have been in close contact with will also be contacted and asked to self-isolate.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Cllr Susan Baines, added: “Since the outbreak started, sadly more than 300 people have died in Bolton from coronavirus.
“Stopping the virus spreading will help to prevent more lives being lost. And we all have to play our part.
“Testing and contact tracing is critical to this and it’s vital people engage with NHS contact tracers if they test positive or if you get a call because you have been in contact with someone who has the virus.
“Support is there via the council’s response hub if you have to self-isolate as a result and need help to get food or medicines. We know having to self-isolate is not easy, but help is there if you need it.”
The council’s response hub is available on 01204 337221, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm and Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm.