As we ease out of lockdown, Council leader Tony Newman stresses the need to kep to 2m social distancing now that groups of up to six people can meet outdoors. The criss is costing the Council a minimum of at n£63m overspend. While the incidence of new COVID cases is falling 424 people had died up to 8 May. On 26 May the Scrutiny Committee was given an update as at 20 May with the public health situation, aspects of the Council and partners responses, the situation in the care homes, the support to the shielded and vulnerable, and the lessons the Council is trying to learn. A report on care homes has been submitted to the Government. From 1 June some non-essential retail shops (inc Central and Whitgift) and market stalls (inc. Surrey St) that will start opening. Factory Lane recycling facility is now re-open but tight rules need to be followed. The big quandary is whether the Cummins affair has damaged public adherence to social distancing. There has been plenty of evidence around the country that there are many people who are ignoring the rules. If this happens in Croydon then we may see an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Monday 1 June. Start of Lockdown Easing – Importance of 2m Social Distancing Remains
Council Leader Tony Newman stresses urges the importance of continuing social distancing now that up to six people can meet outdoors as a group.
COVID Creates Council n£63m Overspend
In the joint Council, Director of Public Health, and NHS report slide presentation to the Scrutiny Committee held on 26 May Chief Executive Jo Negrini states that the net current year forecast overspend is £62.7m. ‘We will not go bankrupt’ Council Leader Tony Newman assured the Committee.
Negrini says: ‘The Council is taking a proactive approach to managing this financial impact and has taken already steps including:
- Creation of a Finance Review Panel to do a complete assessment
- Placing a restriction on all non-essential spending
- Implementing a Recruitment Freeze’
She flags up the following issues
- Expected huge rise in unemployment.
- Low skilled workers, younger and women affected the most.
- Historically low skilled workers, younger and women effected the most.
- Evidence is starting to show a greater increase in women claimants aged between 16-24 and over 50.
Croydon Past The Peak
On Wednesday 27 May the virtual meeting of the Croydon Health Board was told: “The response to the pandemic has been phenomenal but in more than 30 years in the NHS I have never experienced anything like the past few months in Croydon. We’re confident and delighted that we’ve passed the peak in Croydon but there are anxieties of what the future holds for covid.”
COVID Cases and Deaths
The report to the Scrutiny Committee contains the following details:
- Confirmed cases 1,485 (18 May)
- Number of new cases (3-4 per day) continues to fall after peaking in early April at more than 50 a day.
- Analysis for infections and deaths by age/gender/ethnicity/deprivation etc are not yet available at local level.
- Deaths: (week ending): 27 March (39), 3 April (74), 10 April (113), 17 April (77), 24 April (57), 1 May (34), 8 May (21)
- Deaths in Hospital 315 (75%), 87 in care homes (20%), 20 in community (5%) at end of week 8 May.
- At 20 May 14 of 63 older people care homes reported residents displaying COVID-19 and 34 care home residents displayed COVID-19.
Supporting The Shielded And Vulnerable
Providing the statistics as at 20 May the report to Scrutiny shows:
- 14,056 shielded residents
- 7,014 are registered online and have been contacted and triaged
- 6,383 require no support
- 631 have been receiving the support they require
- 308 residents were visited due to unknown whereabouts and on government shielded list
- 27 bulk food and essentials consignment have been received, and packed into individual packages
- 1,338 emergency food packages have been delivered: 759 to shielded, 586 non-shielded
- 1552 voluntary and community sector deliveries to shielding individuals
- 9,869 government arranged food deliveries
Council Trying To Learn Lessons From Crisis
In her section of the COVID report to the Scrutiny Committee Jo Negrini explains that 14 interactive workshops involving 100 staff, cabinet and partners have been held to discuss lessons to be learnt.
‘• We have worked effectively from home and had more time to focus on tasks without being distracted in the office.
- We adapted quickly to new ways of working, we have rapidly learnt how to use new technology such as MS Teams.
- Staff have valued the regular communication from senior leaders and would like this to continue.
- Caring responsibilities have made it challenging for some staff to work from home. Staff ‘retrospective’ workshops and deep dives
- Staff would like us to consider providing equipment (e.g. monitors) at home and invest more in the Council’s systems for remote working.
- Some staff have struggled to maintain their work/life balance while working remotely, so we like to develop some principles for working from to ensure that staff continue to take breaks and look after their wellbeing.
- Some teams have supported each other’s well-being with activities such as coffee break virtual meetings and team quizzes. However some staff are still feeling isolated and miss face-to-face contact with colleagues and residents.
- The Local Strategic Partnership has enabled us to co-ordinate our response with partners to effectively enforce the lockdown and keep residents and staff safe.
- Not all of our residents have the necessary technology to access our services digitally and the telephony system requires some improvement.
Council and Partners Care Home Plan
A COVID Care Home Plan has been submitted to the Government
Other COVID-19 News
Factory Lane Recycle Centre Open With Rules
More Market Stalls Begin to Trade
More market street stall holders in Surrey St and those elsewhere in the Borough will begin to start trading again this coming week.
Centrale and Whitgift Shops To Start Re-opening
At the Council’s Scrutiny Committee on 26 May Chief Executive Jo Negrini reported that Hammerson and Westfield plan to re-open some of the COVID closed retail in the Centrale and Whitgift Shopping Centres.