Agenda and decisions

Community Select Committee
Wednesday, 4 March 2020 6.00pm

Venue: Shimkent Room - Daneshill House, Danestrete. View directions

Contact: Fungai Nyamukapa 

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Liz Harrington and Claire Parris.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

MINUTES - 8 JANUARY 2020 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Community Select Committee meeting held on 8 January 2020

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Community Select Committee meeting held on 8 January 2020 be approved as a correct record

3.

PUBLIC HEALTH DISCUSSION ITEM WITH HCC DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH

The Committee are invited to discuss delivery of local public health issues with the HCC Director of Public Health, Jim McManus who will provide an update on the work being undertaken at County Level.

 

Decision:

The Director of Public Health (Public Health Service - Hertfordshire County Council), Jim McManus, was in attendance at the meeting.  He gave an update on the new Coronavirus strain (COVID-19).   The Director informed Members that the majority of the UK population remains at low risk of COVID-19.   The Director highlighted that older people with pre-existing conditions were at risk of a severe form of the disease.  COVID-19 was being treated from other viruses because of the ability to spread while showing no symptoms and the speed of growth of numbers.

 

The Director advised the Committee that COVID-19 was moderately transmissible but there was no need to panic.  Coronaviruses were mainly transmitted by large droplets spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with infected secretions.  Planning was underway in local areas.  In relation to good practice, the Director indicated that the best way to stop spread was hygiene and cleaning.  Currently, there was no dedicated drug for the virus and there were no expectations of a vaccine any time soon. 

 

Members pointed out that local buses did not display any guidance on ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and there were no notices on trains.  The Committee sought clarification on guidance airline passengers, schools, religious and other public gatherings.  Members also asked questions regarding support for care workers, fear and uncertainty in the public, election canvassing and pressures on the NHS 111 (non-emergency) number.

 

In his response, the Director confirmed that the Public Health team were systematically working with stakeholders including bus operators, Network Rail and train operators.  With regard to air travel, the Director referred to recent flight cancellations to areas heavily affected by the virus.  It was pointed out that airlines were intensifying cleaning regimes.  Travellers were urged to avoid flying to countries and areas where there were high chances of coming into contact with someone with COVID-19.  People with vulnerable health were advised not to fly.

 

The Director of Public Health stated that those responsible for work places, schools, shopping outlets, halls sports establishments and other public buildings should prioritise sanitisation of high risk touch points such as handrails, elevator controls and door handles.  Professor McManus confirmed that banknotes could carry bacteria or viruses such as COVID-19. 

 

In response to a question regarding guidance for care workers, Professor McManus stated that carers should minimise contact if there was a high risk of contracting COVID-19.  The use of clinical masks would be recommended in some cases. 

 

With regard to religious gatherings, the Director of Public Health reported that FaithAction was Public Health England’s strategic partner for information campaigns.  He confirmed that Public Health was available to engage with all faith groups in the County and to share guidance on COVID-19. 

 

The Director acknowledged the information gaps and stressed the importance of disseminating accurate and regular updates to the public.  He advised that the public should take a measured approach and not assume that colds and flu would lead to COVID-19.  Members agreed to take the message back to schools  ...  view the full decision text for item 3.

4.

HEALTHY STEVENAGE STRATEGY

The Committee are invited to receive a presentation providing progress on the Healthy Stevenage Strategy from the Health and Sports Strategy Manager, Candice Bryan, focussing on the work with children and young people.

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the item be deferred to a future meeting of the Community Select Committee.

5.

URGENT PART 1 BUSINESS

To consider any Part I business accepted by the Chair as urgent

Decision:

None.

6.

EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

To consider the following motions:

 

1. That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the ground that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs 1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.

 

2. That Members consider the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 

Decision:

Not required.

7.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent

Decision:

None.