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Issue 21: 9 September 2020

Latest Updates on Salford Council's response to the COVID-19 outbreak

The main council information page on the Coronavirus is updated daily.

Coronavirus Cases

Salford along with Bolton, Oldham, Tameside, Rochdale, Bury and Manchester are now all on the highest level of alert, this is imposed by the government when the infection rate per 100,000 goes above 50.  The infection rate in Salford has increased from 38.2 in the previous seven day period (up to 29 August) to 63.4 (up to 5 September, this rate may increase as cases come in).

As of Sunday 6 September, 2,003 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 7.86% since last Monday 31 August, when there were 1,857).


What we are doing in Salford

Salford’s approach is focused on breaking the chain of transmission in the community by explaining the measures people should be taking and enforcing where required.  We are targeting our enhanced community engagement work in areas with high numbers of cases or are at risk of higher cases due to underlying factors.

We are intervening as early and as local as possible. Working with DHSC to roll-out community testing at a hyper-local level and moving rapidly to control outbreaks where they occur. Our approach is driven by an understanding of our data and epidemiology and our place. For example, in terms of:

  • Data and intelligence - we are interrogating line lists and other local authority data on a daily basis to drive city wide actions. We also hold a weekly Health Protection Board to direct activity.
  • Outbreak Management – we are putting COVID safe risk assessments in place for all primary and secondary schools and a Return to Campus Plan in place for Salford University. In addition there have been risk assessments for all care homes and care settings, plus daily infection control calls to care homes.
  • Test and Trace - activity takes place at various testing facilities in the city, this includes locally delivered testing at AJ Bell for health and care staff and other local key workers. There is also weekly care home staff testing and SRFT staff testing provided. Promotion of home testing and regional testing sites is also an important part of the work.
  • Communications and engagement – we are producing localised engagement resources translated into the nine most used languages locally. There has also been an outdoor advertising campaign, amplified in targeted areas (20 bus stop locations and banners in 39 parks and high footfall areas). Other work includes text messages from GPs to all registered patients and from the City Council encouraging continued adherence to wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, and if you’re unwell get a test. There has also been a City wide campaign to encourage take up of community testing
  • Compliance and enforcement work – we have provided written guidance to all business / persons that are subject to regulatory activity. For example 3,758 retailers have been sent two separate mailshots on reopening of businesses; 310 licensed premises have received reopening advice. 1,200 licensed taxi drivers, operators and owners have been issued advice and guidance on multiple occasions, and 1,370 visits have been conducted, 329 of which are a result of a complaint, including proactive compliance visits to 505 high risk business hospitality venues.

How you can help

We can all play our part to stop the spread of coronavirus and promote the need to continue to follow the current local restrictions within Greater Manchester.

I am asking you, as community leaders to help get the core messages out to our residents. Please promote our core messages - wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, get tested if you are unwell – to help endorse these messages.

The communications team are putting out regular messages via our twitter and facebook pages, as well as on our website. It would be very helpful if councillors could also share these messages via social media and your local networks.

Greater Manchester – Local restrictions

Local restrictions continue including a ban on two households mixing indoors in Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Trafford, Oldham, Bury, Bolton and Tameside.

GM Campaign ‘Greater Together and Do Your Bit’ 

This campaign is aimed at communicating coronavirus safety and prevention to people across Greater Manchester. The campaign highlights that COVID-19 is still very present and that we all need to all do our bit to stop it, as we are all in this together.


£500 million funding for quick result COVID-19 test trials

Government announced £500 million for COVID-19 test trials using the latest technology last week.

A new community-wide testing pilot will be launched in Salford and existing pilots expanded in Southampton and Hampshire. The funding will also support the scaling up of testing capacity ahead of winter.

Saliva-based testing will be used to test the community in Salford, in the coming weeks. Salford City Council working with local health partners and voluntary and community-based networks, will invite some people living in Salford for a weekly test. The pilot will explore how regular repeat testing can be made as accessible as possible and will inform how to scale community testing across the country.

The pilot will begin with a select number of participants and up to 250 tests a day, to be scaled to the whole area. Initially, the pilot will focus on a specific high footfall location in the city, which includes retail, public services, transport and faith spaces. Weekly tests will help to identify cases early, including for those with no or minor symptoms, allowing those testing positive to self-isolate.

The Salford pilot will begin testing about 250 people a day over a two to three week period. This will allow us to understand how we can motivate people to undertake the test, what works and what doesn’t, how we can incentivise testing, how we support residents who test positive, how we logistically manage the testing and results process and also to develop a better understanding of the clinical sensitivity of the test itself. The first small sample of tests with a small cohort will begin imminently.

We are currently making sure all of the processes are in place before we start to publicise the initial areas for testing and this will be built up across the city.


Spirit of Salford network

As of 7 September, the hotline has received 15,160 telephone calls, along with 1,626 requests for support from the website. No food boxes have been requested recently. There have been 378 Cloud and Chat appointments made.

Place Services

Salford Sports Village is due to re-open on Monday 14 September 2020. Salford’s other leisure centres have been reopened, in phases, across the summer, the most recent being Clarendon and Ordsall which both reopened on 24 August (Ordsall – pitch only).

People Services

Youth Centre’s remain closed for open access sessions, however, Beacon, The Deans and Bridgewater are open for targeted one to one work and access for external statutory partners. The one to one work and training sessions all booked in advance. Youth Workers are delivering external outdoor one to one work, where activity cannot be done on-line and detached work where they would have previously opened Youth Centre’s, in addition to the citywide detached team targeting identified hot spots.

Schools and childcare

A total of 11 Early Years settings and 56 childminders have remained closed as of today (Monday 7th September 2020). Updated guidance from the Department for Education has been issued outlining how to fund childcare providers in the Autumn term 2020, any settings that choose to remain closed, without a public health reason, in the autumn term will not be funded.

All schools have re-opened across Salford – the majority were on training days for staff last week and some have started with some year groups – all children are scheduled to be back in school by Thursday 10th September 2020 this week.


Kickstart scheme – placements for young people

The government has introduced a new Kickstart Scheme in Great Britain, a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.

The funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

New payment for people self-isolating in highest risk areas

People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 could benefit from a new payment scheme.

Starting with a trial in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to ensure the process works, eligible individuals who test positive with the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation. Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182.

There will be a rapid review of the scheme in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to assess the performance consider how effectively vulnerable people have been reached, and consider how far it has helped reduce transmission of the virus in these areas. If the approach is successful, the scheme will be quickly applied in other areas of high COVID-19 incidence.


Post, print and administration services

This is a great example of a team who keep everything ticking along in the background and that so many of us rely on - our post, print and admin team. I would like to say a special thanks to this team, who work primarily from the Civic Centre, as they have been working onsite throughout the past six months to ensure that our residents and people across the city receive the information they need about the services we offer. The postal service has sent over 120,000 items to our residents since the restrictions started and all whilst reviewing and adapting working practices to ensure social distancing and safe working.

The team have continued to produce council tax bills and benefits related communications by both email and by physical output. This ensures our commitment to our statutory obligations on income collection is maintained.