North Yorkshire Outbreak Management Advisory Board


Notes of the remote meeting held on Thursday 23rd December 2021 at 2.00 p.m.




North Yorkshire County Council Representatives:

County Councillor Carl Les, Leader, North Yorkshire County Council (Chair)

County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member, Public Health, Prevention, Supported Housing

County Councillor Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Services and Health Integration

County Councillor Stuart Parsons, Leader of the Independent Group

Barry Khan, Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Democratic Services)

Victoria Turner, Public Health Consultant

Louise Wallace, Director of Public Health

Richard Webb, Corporate Director, Health and Adult Services


District Council Representatives:

Councillor Angie Dale, Richmondshire Borough Council

Councillor Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council

Councillor Richard Foster, Ryedale District Council

Councillor Ann Myatt, Harrogate Borough Council


Other Partners’ Representatives:

Sue Peckitt, Chief Nursing Officer, North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (substitute for Amanda Bloor)

Caroline O’Neill, Community First Yorkshire (substitute for Jane Colthup)

Simon Dennis, Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, Office of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (substitute for Zoe Metcalfe)

Ian Yapp, Chief Education Officer, the STAR Multi-Academy Trust

Lisa Winward, Chief Constable


In attendance (all from North Yorkshire County Council, unless stated):

County Councillor Karin Sedgwick

Patrick Duffy, Principal Democratic Services Scrutiny Officer (Clerk)

Michael James, Team Leader, Marketing and Customer Communications

Andy Robson, Head of Section, Business Compliance


Apologies received from:

Amanda Bloor, Accountable Officer, North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Councillor Mark Crane, Selby District Council

Jane Colthup, Chief Executive, Community First Yorkshire

Richard Flinton, Chief Executive, North Yorkshire County Council

Ashley Green, Chief Executive Officer, Healthwatch, North Yorkshire

Councillor Dinah Keal, Ryedale District Council

Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Helen Simpson, Chair, York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Sally Tyrer, Chair, North Yorkshire Local Medical Committee






Copies of all documents considered are in the Minute Book









County Councillor Carl Les welcomed Members of the Board and any members of the public or media viewing the meeting.  


He advised that he is the Leader of the Council and Chairs this Board and that:-


-        the main role of this Board is to support the effective communication of the test, trace and contain plan for the county and to ensure that the public and local businesses are effectively communicated with;  


-        decisions of the Board are purely advisory and its recommendations will be considered through the governance arrangements of the bodies represented, which retain their decision making sovereignty;


-        the papers for this meeting had been published in advance on the County Council’s website; and


-        the Board comprises, among others, representatives of the County Council; District and Borough Councils; the NHS; UK Health Security Agency; Schools; Healthwatch; the Care Sector; and the Voluntary Sector




As stated in the attendance on the previous page.




AGREED that these were an accurate reflection of the discussion.




There were no declarations of interest.




The Chair asked Members if they could advise him, at this stage, whether they had any item of urgent business they were likely to raise under that heading, so that he could ensure there was sufficient time at the end to consider it.  No Members indicated that they had any urgent business to raise.




Sue Peckitt updated as follows:-


-        Hospitalisation figures are relatively stable at present but the Health Service is prepared for any influx.


-        All areas remain busy and the Ambulance Service has been struggling to meet demand.


-        The booster programme is going very well.  In North Yorkshire and York, as of yesterday (22nd December):-


·           90.3% of people had had a first vaccination;

·           of those eligible, 97.3% had had a second vaccination; and

·           of those eligible, 78.2% had had their booster


-        Vaccination Centres will remain open over the holiday period and several have opened to walk-in patients.


-        There has been a drop in numbers over the last few days. Anecdotally, this may be because people do not want to come forward with Christmas approaching.


-        The plea to people is: Please have your vaccine


-        Some Vaccination Centres have vaccine availability for healthy 12-15 year olds.


-        Notification has been received of the need to offer the vaccine to 5-13 year old children at high risk of infection or who live in a household with an immuno-suppressed individual.


In response to questions from Ian Yapp, Sue advised that Guidance has been received for boosting 16-17 year olds and this is being worked through.  Via the chat facility, she further advised that the percentage take up rate among 12-15 year olds  is:-


·         North Yorkshire -  42.8% (leaving 4,259 still to be vaccinated)

·         Vale of York -  52.9% (leaving 7,948 still to be vaccinated)


She added that the key now is to get everyone through that we can.


County Councillor Karin Sedgwick asked if there was any data about the age and vaccination status of people in Hospital. Sue Peckitt said that those people significantly unwell tend not to have been vaccinated. The age range of patients varies and some have other underlying conditions.






Slides were presented by Louise Wallace, which contained data on North Yorkshire daily cases; 7-day infection rates; and daily deaths.


Louise highlighted the following aspects:-


-        We are seeing an increasing pattern driven by the Omicron variant. In North Yorkshire we are one or two weeks behind other parts of the country.


-        We are awaiting data on hospitalisations and deaths as a result of the variant. It is too soon to predict the impact on North Yorkshire.


-        The 7-day rolling average of cases currently is 423 per 100,000 population. This is likely to increase due to Omicron.


-        The number of people dying is relatively low but we acknowledge that all deaths are people’s friends and family.


-        The key message to people is to ensure that they get a booster and take sensible precautions with regard to face coverings; taking lateral flow tests; good hand washing; and hygiene


In response to a question from Councillor Ann Myatt, Sue Peckitt advised that it is too early to tell what proportion of current cases are due to the Omicron variant, but we expect the proportion to increase, together with hospitalisations. We are working on the premise that if someone tests positive, it will be from Omicron. Regardless of the strain, people will be dealt with as an individual; if they require hospitalisation they will receive it and if they can be managed successfully at home they will be.


Victoria Turner added that confirmed cases of Omicron are identified by sequencing.  Currently, there are a relatively small number of confirmed Omicron cases in the county but it is expected this will rise rapidly, in line with the rest of the country.  There is a time lag in identifying confirmed cases due to the time taken to undertake sequencing, but it is safe to say that Omicron will be the dominant variant in North Yorkshire.


Over the next few weeks, we are likely to see hospitalisations increase as the Omicron wave starts to be reflected in the figures.  It is not certain at this stage how severe it is, compared to other variants.  A recent study of early data by Imperial College, London, suggests that there is a slightly reduced risk of hospitalisation. However, significantly more people are getting Omicron.  Therefore, the impact is likely to be greater, as the numbers of people in Hospital will be a smaller proportion of a bigger number.


Councillor Ann Myatt said that her feeling is that compliance with mandatory measures is likely to be harder to achieve and that there may be some push back against Schools and Businesses closing. Also, people in North Yorkshire have been very good at modifying their behaviour; taking personal responsibility and doing their own risk assessments, in terms of how they look after themselves in the run up to Christmas.


Victoria Turner mentioned that modelling by SAGE suggested that, without further intervention (that is intervention beyond Plan B measures), there could be a peak of 3,000 people being admitted to Hospital each day.


Ian Yapp asked if cases of subsidiary inflammatory syndrome are being tracked. Victoria Turner responded that we are aware of a small number.  There is no formal reporting pathway but this is something to be monitored, along with long Covid. Guidance is expected on this in the next few weeks.


Louise Wallace added that, whatever occurs in January, the Council’s Outbreak Management Teams will be available to support Schools and other Sectors of the population that require support.






Mike James spoke to slides that had been circulated with the papers for the meeting.


He highlighted the key priorities:-


Warning and informing

This includes amplifying Government messages about national changes – face coverings; working from home, etc.


In addition, digital assets have been created for Local Resilience Forum partners to share across platforms.


Supporting the national effort around booster jab communications

We are working alongside NHS colleagues to maximise the reach of these messages.  In effect, we have become one team for this purpose.


Pro-actively pushing  wider community support messages

Communications is not just about immediate Covid messages; it also involves ensuring that people can know about and access community support.  For example, help for families during the Christmas period and access to grants for those eligible.


Embedding new  messages into the Respect and Protect framework

This involves creating more of an emotional connection with messaging – to humanise messages and make them more relatable to people. The aim is to get people to tell the story for us.


There have been strong online engagement rates for digital material, which illustrates communications, are having an impact.


In terms of next steps, we need to continue to respond to a fast moving situation. For instance, arrangements are in place to support any step up in communications that may be required over the Christmas and New Year period.


Caroline O’Neill mentioned that the VCS has been working with the Communications Team for volunteers to work with the Hubs.  This is going well and the VCS will continue to support this.






Care Sector – Richard Webb


-        A huge amount of pressure nationally and regionally, with a 2% contraction in the workforce.


-        Working with colleagues on our Christmas and New Year plans.


-        Work being undertaken to provide additional funding to front line services and the Care Sector – this will be considered by the Executive in January.


-        On 7th December 2021 the Executive approved measures to support Social Care, including gearing up on issues around Personal Protective Equipment; testing; and visiting.


-        Thank to everyone involved for their continued hard work and commitment.


Police – Lisa Winward


-        Seen a reduction in demand over the last week, primarily in the night time economy.


-        Low absence rates of under 2%, but mindful the situation could change. Therefore, Business Continuity Plans are in place should these be required.


Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner – Simon Dennis


-        The Fire Minister has encouraged Fire and Rescue Services to marshal volunteer resources to assist the booster campaign.  The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been involved in delivering tens of thousands of doses and stands ready to continue to assist as required.


-        The Commissioner, Zoe Metcalfe, intends to attend future meetings of this Board, with Simon representing her if ever she is unable to attend.


Schools – Ian Yapp


-       There was a mixed picture towards the end of term in Schools and settings – some had significant levels of absence.  This was compounded by changes in lateral flow test rules and the availability of testing kits.


-       Availability of staff in some areas has been pressing.


-       Still a shortfall in some student groups in the12-15 year age group requiring vaccination.  Students in that age group are now eligible for their second vaccine.  It is vital that all communication channels are utilised to encourage vaccination and booster uptake for those eligible, in order to have the best possible start to education on return in January.


-       Secondary Schools have plans in hand for a single onsite lateral flow test device on return.


-       Schools have been advised to review all levels of Contingency Planning.


-       Further Guidance is expected from the Department for Education before Schools return.


Voluntary and Community Sector – Caroline O’Neill


-       Feedback received is that volunteers are being made very welcome at Vaccination Centres and made to feel part of the Team.  This is crucial, as we want to retain the volunteers in the system, as they are a vital resource.







The Chair confirmed that the next meeting will be on Monday 17th January 2022 at 11.00 a.m.





There was no other business to consider.  Therefore, the Chair concluded the meeting by wishing everyone a happy and safe Christmas.


The meeting concluded at 2.40 p.m.