Key figures from the city’s business, transport, health and education sectors have joined council leaders to help steer Leeds through the next phase of its COVID-19 recovery.
The first meeting of the newly-formed Leeds Outbreak Control Board took place last week, with the aim of supporting thousands of residents and workers in Leeds to play their part in testing, tracing and controlling the spread of the virus as part of the NHS Test and Trace programme.
In the coming months, members of the board will spearhead a city-wide effort to ensure people across Leeds know when they need to get a test, when they might need to isolate to protect others and how they can help trace people they’ve been in contact with.
Initially meeting every three weeks the board will also work alongside partners from local communities, unions, retail, culture and sport, manufacturing and the third sector to make the city as safe as possible and ensure it is poised to swiftly respond to any local outbreaks.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, is chair of the Leeds Outbreak Control Board.
She said: “Over the past few months and despite facing exceptional and all-encompassing changes to our way of life, Leeds has come together like never before to meet the challenge of COVID-19 with characteristic tenacity and community spirit.
“As we enter the next phase of managing this crisis, the people of Leeds will be at the very heart of keeping their city safe and we’ll need to call on their sense of collective responsibility and compassion to make sure we protect one another and stay on top of the virus.
“We already have incredible support and buy-in from key sectors across the city who have all agreed to be part of the Outbreak Control Board and we’re confident that their expertise combined with the empathy and resilience of our citizens and communities will enable us to move forward confidently and safely.”
A key part of the board’s activities will include raising awareness of how and why tracing works and how sharing contacts will prevent the spread of the virus and save lives.
That will see work take place to encourage people with symptoms to isolate, helping them to access available support and encouraging their friends and neighbours to lend a hand where they can.
The council and the board will use the latest data to respond quickly to any increases in the number of cases so they can be contained as effectively and efficiently as possible while also preparing and planning for any restrictions should they be needed.
Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Leeds has already shown a real aptitude for the type of strong, agile partnership work that will enable us to robustly test and trace cases and contain any local outbreaks effectively.
“We’re absolutely committed to working at a local level to prevent those outbreaks, and to acting early where they arise to keep infections as low as possible across Leeds. We’re already in a strong place in preventing and managing outbreaks across the city, and this remains a critical priority as we come through lockdown measures.”
More information on the NHS Test and Trace programme, including what to do if you’ve been in contact with someone who’s had a positive test, can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/
Further details on the council’s local coronavirus work can be found at https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus and https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/people-and-communities