This is my latest roundup of local news and Coronavirus updates for Hunslet and Riverside residents. There are several links to more detailed information from the Government, the Council and others within the post. In this update you will find:
Coronavirus Cases and Mortality
Local Outbreak Planning Update
Leeds “Nightingale Court”
Hospitality Update - Outdoor Smoking
Funeral and Graveside Services at Leeds City Council’s Cemeteries and Crematoria
Home Farm Temple Newsam
New Employment and Skills Leeds Website
14 Day Self-isolation Exempt List
Public Health England Information Communication Resources
Updated Best Council Plan
Local Project Funding
Free Tickets for The Greatest Breeze Show
A61(S) Bus Corridor – Draft Traffic Regulation Orders
Hope for Skelton Bridge Cyclists
Park Row Road Closure
Live Cllr Q&A Events
Previous updates can be found here: Local News Summary
Coronavirus Cases and Mortality: As at 17:00 on 23 July. The number of confirmed cases within Leeds stood at 3,743. There have been 653 covid-19 related deaths registered so far, of which:
641 (98%) were Leeds residents
358 (54.82%) were in hospitals
260 (39.81%) were in care homes
12 (1.83%) in a hospice
23 (3.52%) in their own home.
Local Outbreak Planning Update: There are currently 2 care homes in Leeds affected with Covid-19, both are now open with restrictions in place and there are no care homes closed due to COVID-19. Of the 2 care homes affected one has one single isolated case and the other is an existing outbreak, identified in June, resulting in a high number of confirmed cases following whole home testing. The situation is improving and the home is now open to admissions with restrictions in place. The IPC team are in contact daily to offer support. There are no school/childcare incidents as schools are now closed, and no new workplace outbreaks have been reported.
As of 23rd July Leeds has a 7 day rate of 6.2 per 100,000, lower than the national rate (7.1 per 100,000), the Yorkshire and Humber rate (13.7 per 100,000) and the rates in neighbouring West Yorkshire authorities. Overall case numbers and rates are showing a downward trend, but we are not complacent about the number of cases. Here is an update about some of the current work in the city to prevent outbreaks.
LCC Public Health continue to manage outbreaks locally working closely with Pubic Health England, LCC Environmental Health and Leeds Community Healthcare Infection prevention service. Outbreak management systems are working well in Leeds supporting all community settings (majority in workplaces and care homes to date) who have experienced outbreaks and schools who have experienced single isolated cases. We are increasing capacity across services to meet demand going forward.
An update on testing:
The Temple Green drive to regional testing site is well-established
Walk to’ testing site piloted in Bridge Street Community Church, an inner city area of high deprivation, as part of a national initiative. Working with a range of partners from the voluntary and community sector to ensure this offer delivers for local people.
In addition to the walk in centres a local testing offer is being provided in Leeds to complement the national Test and Trace programme. For example we have been able to provide a quick testing offer to women fleeing violence to enable access to safe houses and local testing to facilitate care home admissions from the community.
Self-testing kits supplied to key third sector organisations to offer additional support to people unable to navigate national testing routes
Support to care homes
Infection prevention training for social care, care home and home care staff including the development of a local video for staff.
Ongoing monitoring and infection prevention support to care homes with Covid cases
Detailed work taking place locally to understand how to prevent COVID and manage cases within dementia units
Support to businesses
The Environmental Health team continue to provide support on Covid Secure compliance to businesses across Leeds. 512 requests for advice have been answered to date
Proactive health protection messages have been sent out to the 145 high risk food manufacturers in Leeds
Environmental health and LCH infection prevention nurses visit premises of businesses to effectively managing outbreaks.
Environmental Health and LCH infection prevention nurses are focusing on higher risk workplace settings and recently visited a fruit producer employing on site migrant workers in order to provide advice and guidance to the company.
Support to schools
Schools, Further Education and Early years outbreak management plan has been developed and shared across Leeds
A Leeds educational settings guidance (based on PHE national guidance) has been developed and shared with schools, FE colleges, early years and out of schools settings detailing how to manage a child or staff members who has symptoms, a confirmed case or an outbreak and the protective measures that should be taken.
A series of simple flow charts based on the above for ease of use by front line practitioners have been developed and shared
Working with Communities
Guidance developed and shared with places of worship to support them in re-opening their venues in a safe and responsible way
Working with Leeds Faith Forum and University of Leeds to enhance the community champion model with a Covid focus
Training sessions planned for frontline workers focusing on BAME communities.
Developed local videos and translation into community languages information promoting the ‘Walk to Testing Sites’
Production of advice and guidance for large multi-generational households - in community languages.
Street level advice and guidance to small retailers and take-away premises in inner city areas on key public health messages
Work taking place with LCC housing services, sheltered housing, private landlords to raise awareness with tenants re social distancing, symptoms and where to get a test
GP confederation working with GP practices to reiterate importance of prevention and COVID Secure workplace environment. Primary care staff receiving training on identifying symptoms and safely managing cases within staff and patients connected to practices.
Face Coverings: Face coverings are now mandatory in shops and supermarkets, banks, building societies and post offices. The guidance on face coverings was updated on Thursday to reflect the changes, and includes information about which venues the rule applies to, exemptions to the rule, and guidance on how to wear a face covering. A face covering is defined as anything that covers the mouth and nose. The new rule applies to the following settings:
indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
indoor shopping centres
banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
Face coverings will not be required in hospitality settings, including restaurants with table service, bars, and pubs. They are also not required in entertainment venues (such as cinemas or casinos), visitor attractions (such as heritage sites or museums), and exercise and sports venues (such as gyms).
Children under 11 and those who cannot wear a face covering due to a disability are not required to wear a face covering. Please see the guidance for the full list of exemptions. The gov.uk website provides resources for people to print an ‘exempt from face covering’ card or badge.
The Police and PCSOs will be responding to the new rule using voluntary consent and applying the four-step escalation principles of engaging, explaining, encouraging and, as a last resort, enforcing. Businesses will be encouraged to take reasonable steps to promote compliance where possible, recognising the possibility that a person could have a legal exemption. Homelessness Support: Councils and local partners can now apply for funding from the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme to cover property costs and support new tenancies for people who had been provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic.
Flu Jabs: Flu jabs will be made available to more people this winter, including those aged 50 to 64, households of those on the shielded patient list, and children in the first year of secondary school. This is in addition to the groups already eligible (over 65s, primary school children and children aged 2-3, pregnant women, healthcare workers and those with pre-existing conditions).
Leeds “Nightingale Court”: Cloth Hall Court in Leeds will host one of 10 ‘Nightingale Courts’ to deal with the backlog of cases caused by the pandemic, and will hear civil trials and Business and Property cases.
Hospitality Update - Outdoor Smoking: An amendment to the Business and Planning Bill gives restaurants, cafes and pubs powers to create smoking and non-smoking outdoor seating areas.
Updated Government Guidance Documents:
Working safely guidance (updated to include guidance on business events and meetings)
Safe use of places of worship (updated to reflect face coverings requirement, and information on outdoor worship)
Playground Re-openings: Preparations have been underway to open facilities safely in line with the guidance following the government announcement that playgrounds and outdoor gyms could open from 4th July.
Legal advice has been provided on the published guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms) and there are significant implications relating to risk assessment, cleaning and social distancing that have needed to be considered and put in place. The council has a total of 200 playgrounds and outdoor gyms comprising of over 2000 pieces of individual equipment located within its parks and green spaces and this provides significant challenges in terms of scale and risk prevention.
It is therefore not possible to open all playgrounds at this stage, however Parks and Countryside have been in discussion with Civic Enterprise Leeds (CEL) to put in place enhanced cleaning regimes at a limited number of sites reopened on Thursday 23rd July as follows:
The playground at the Arium
The playground and adventure playground at Lotherton
The playground at Middleton Park
The two playgrounds at Roundhay Park along with outdoor gym equipment.
The playground at Temple Newsam
Signage will be put in place to remind users about social distancing, hygiene, not eating food or drink and limiting numbers including on relevant pieces of equipment. If the playground or equipment is busy then people are also asked to be patient to enable social distancing but the playgrounds and equipment will not be supervised so this will rely on people acting responsibly. Please be aware that in some cases it will be necessary for example to remove some swing seats to ensure social distancing.
The government has not provided any funding to provide enhanced cleaning and there are not sufficient resources available to implement across all other playgrounds and equipment citywide. As a consequence of this the council will be writing to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government requesting that the guidance is reviewed in light of the practical implications of delivering this guidance for those who manage a significant level of municipal playgrounds that invariably have no site based staff presence, over a wide geographic distribution (a copy of the letter is attached). We will also be requesting help from local MPs to assist through direct lobbying of Government. In the meantime any updated government guidance will continue to be reviewed and consideration will be given to opening other playgrounds and equipment in the light of this and the implications on availability of resources to conduct suitable enhanced cleaning measures.
Funeral and Graveside Services at Leeds City Council’s Cemeteries and Crematoria: From Monday 27th July we will be increasing the number of mourners at funeral services in chapels and at the graveside for a burial whilst ensuring that social distancing is maintained. This will mean that 30 mourners will be allowed at the graveside for a burial with appropriate social distancing in place.
With regard to chapels, the following mourners will be allowed based on the size and layout of each venue as follows:
18 at Rawdon Crematorium
14 at Cottingley and Lawnswood Crematorium
20 at Armley and Hunslet burial chapel
In addition, up to 10 mourners will be allowed to stand outside to listen to a funeral service being relayed via outside speakers at each chapel. This new arrangement in chapels is in recognition that some people do not need to social distance and therefore chairs will be arranged to allow families from the same household to sit closer together whilst ensuring 2m distance between each group.
Home Farm Temple Newsam: As from Monday 27th July Home Farm will open to members of the public. Visitor numbers will be controlled to ensure social distancing but the farm and all its attractions will be available for all to enjoy.
New Employment and Skills Leeds Website: The new Employment and Skills Leeds has been created to support Leeds residents into employment, training and education, and to support businesses to recruit and develop a skilled and inclusive workforce.
14 Day Self-isolation Exempt List: Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the list of destinations from which passengers do not need to self-isolate when arriving to England.
Public Health England Information Communication Resources: A number of resources are available on the PHE website to support communications related to Covid-19, including staying safe, Test and Trace, returning to school, mental health support and more.
Updated Best Council Plan: The updated Best Council Plan for 2020-2025 has been published, setting out our ambition for Leeds to be the best city in the UK: compassionate and caring with a strong economy; which tackles poverty and reduces inequalities; working towards being a net zero carbon city by 2030. This is accompanied by the updated People Strategy and Financial Strategy. With thanks to all those involved in updating our core strategies with the additional pressures caused by the pandemic.
Local Project Funding: Voluntary Action Leeds have provided details of a number of funding opportunities for local projects that have recently opened for applications- please see the second attached document.
Free Tickets for The Greatest Breeze Show: Free tickets are now available for the Greatest Breeze Show, touring Leeds over the summer and featuring singers, dancers, magicians and comedians. Details and safety information are available on the website.
Community Events: Here is a list of community events in the ward I've been told about:
Hunslet Free Shop: Our partners at The Involve Centre have agreed to host a FREE SHOP to help redistribute quality clothing and other items such as pots and pans etc. which were collected from university students as they left for home after term.
Friends of Hunslet Moor Litter Pick: The wonderful Friends of Hunslet Moor will be having a community litter pick of the moor. Volunteers are asked to meet at the gate at the junction of Burton Row and Primrose Lane.
If you have a community event you'd like me to share, please let me know. The events must be non-party political and for the whole community. I will also offer to host the Facebook event page if your group does not have its own Facebook Page etc. to do so.
A61(S) Bus Corridor – Draft Traffic Regulation Orders: The public can now comment on the proposed new road rules for this significant transport project in our ward
Hope for Skelton Bridge Cyclists: South Leeds Life has reported on the steps being taken to deal with the issues at this bridge. I thank Cllr Carlill and Cllr Mulhern for their work on this issue.
Park Row Road Closure: Connecting Leeds will be installing new ducts and drainage in the road which means that the road (from The Headrow to City Square) will be closed from 07:00 on Sunday 2 August to 00:00 on Monday 3 August. A bus diversion will be in place and traffic be will also be diverted with clearly marked signs.
Live Cllr Q&AEvents: Past event can be re-watched here. The next event(s) are below:
31/7/20: Ask Paul
5/8/20: Guest Q&A with Hilary Benn MP