An Update from the Director of Public Health Hertfordshire

Thank you for all that you continue to do in support of efforts to keep Hertfordshire safe. I can only imagine how keen your users are to return to activities they not only enjoy, but also benefit immensely from.

As we start to move through the Government’s road map, we must continue to follow the measures that mean you can operate safely throughout the coming months.

A dedicated page providing resources and information for clubs and out of school activity leaders to help them ensure they are Covid-safe is available on our website. It includes template letters, risk assessments and what to do if you have a positive case in your setting. You must always follow the latest national guidance to be guided on whether your club is allowed to open. You can read the latest national guidance on the government’s website here.

If you are permitted to operate, you must do so safely. Any facility which continues to operate must do so in a COVID-19 secure way, with detailed risk assessments and complete infection control practice. This is a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

On 5 April, the Prime Minister announced that all people in England will now be able to access twice weekly rapid tests for coronavirus from 9 April. Getting into the habit of twice weekly testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to keep each other safe and alongside the vaccine ensure we can continue to ease our way out of lockdown.

Please make sure that your own staff get tested twice weekly. They can do this by using several test sites across Hertfordshire where they can book in for a rapid test on Hertfordshire County Council’s website. Alternatively, tests for use at home can also be ordered online or can be picked up from several collection points, details for these options are on the government’s website.

All parents and children Year 7 and above are also advised to test twice weekly. Primary aged children are NOT currently included in home testing requirements.

What will happen at a test site?

  1. When you arrive, we’ll ask you to register. Have your booking confirmation and your mobile phone number or email address to hand.
  2. We will take you through to the testing area.
  3. At some test centres, you’ll need to swab your own throat and nose with supervision from a trained professional. At other centres, a trained professional will do the swab for you. We’ll let you know when you arrive.
  4. Once your swab has been submitted, you’ll leave the test centre. The test takes 10mins and you will be emailed or texted the result within 60 minutes.

How Rapid Testing helps
Testing aims to identify people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms but who are infectious and could spread Covid-19 unknowingly. Identifying and supporting these people to isolate helps stop the spread of Covid-19.

What to do if you get a positive case at your club
A clear checklist for all clubs to follow if they are notified of a positive case at their club, plus a letter to circulate to all close contacts are available via the links below. This guidance must be followed to help to stop the spread and ensure clubs can stay open.

We will enforce safe and legal operations
We all have a collective responsibility to work safely to help to combat the virus. However, as you are aware, local authorities have enforcement powers that will be used if necessary when these rules are not being followed. These include being able to prohibit or fully close activities.

If you need further guidance on any of this information, please contact your Environmental Health team.

Thank you for helping everyone to stay safe in Hertfordshire,

Jim McManus
Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council