Update from our Public Health colleagues at Cornwall Council - 23 April 2020
The current position is that there are no identified cases of COVID-19 on the Isles of Scilly. Precautions are in place including shielding the most vulnerable, sensible distancing of key healthcare workers and adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment. This is in addition to the excellent social distancing and hand hygiene precautions that have been adopted across the islands. Travel to and from the mainland has been minimised. Testing is in place for any key workers and their families that develop symptoms and plans for self-isolation. If a case is identified everything is in place to minimise spread to others and provide adequate care including evacuation should it be required.
In Cornwall the number of cases, symptomatic people and admissions remain low when compared to predictions for the rest of the South West and England. The numbers are currently constant and possibly decreasing. The rate of admissions is less than 10% of the bed capacity developed from the worse-case scenario modelling which was based on the available data at the time. This was before social distancing was implemented. Fortunately, public health measures implemented have been effective and the worse-case scenario has been averted. Health services have not been overwhelmed. The current modelling based on current cases and the pattern over recent weeks indicates the number of cases and admissions per day may increase slightly but is more likely to slightly decrease. One area of intense work is around care homes. A small number of care homes were affected in March in Cornwall, but this has risen five-fold in April. All partners are working together to protect as far as possible this vulnerable group of the population. The most likely scenario for the disease in coming weeks is a plateau with slight variation around that. The focus of planning now in Cornwall is how, when and what to ‘turn back on’ relating to the health services that were suspended. We are also looking ahead and working with Exeter university to model the potential impact of various opening up scenarios including tourism.
Dr Kerry Bailey MBBS BSc MSc MRCGP FFPH
Consultant in Population Health Management and Health Services