Health chiefs stress-testing plans to cope with local outbreaks in South Tyneside

Health chiefs are due to finish testing measures to contain localised COVID-19 outbreaks in South Tyneside later this month
South Shields town hall, with the NHS flag flyingSouth Shields town hall, with the NHS flag flying
South Shields town hall, with the NHS flag flying

Infection rates have plummeted following the virus’s peak in May, when the borough was listed as one of the worst-affected areas in England.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’re going to test and exercise our local plan to ensure it’s fit for purpose if real outbreaks come to light,” Sue Ross, the council’s interim corporate director for children, adults and health.

“The outbreak exercise for business was very informative and gave some real knowledge on how to support businesses and make sure they have the necessary information available.

“As a result we’re now writing to local businesses so they’re aware of the plan and the steps to take, should they have a suspected case or an employee develops symptoms.”

Ross was speaking at a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In July, the borough unveiled details of its Local Outbreak Control Plan, which sets out how it will react to a fresh rise in confirmed and suspected cases of coronavirus.

And while this is not expected to see a full lockdown on the scale seen in places like Leicester and Greater Manchester, it could see more targeted measures for individual workplaces, schools, care homes and other venues.

Council bosses have also approved a host of new powers which would allow them to shut down and restrict entry to premises and events if necessary.

Health chiefs have previously warned COVID-19 likely remains ‘at large’ in South Tyneside, despite a fall in official figures and urged families to continue complying with hygiene and social distancing measures.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ross added: “We’re also working closely with BAME (black and minority ethnic) colleagues and communities and planning to carry out a similar exercise [with them].

“We’re also carrying out similar exercises with care homes and schools.

“All three of these exercises are scheduled to take place later this month (August) and I will update you further in due course.”

A message from the editor

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to the Shields Gazette website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit to sign up.

You can subscribe to the newspaper with 20% off here:

Thank you.