Outbreak control plan

Why we need an outbreak plan

We need an outbreak plan because:

  • we want to keep our residents as safe as we can from COVID-19 until better treatments and a vaccine is available
  • the initial phase of COVID-19 was countrywide - as national restrictions are lifted, sporadic cases are likely which will need local action to prevent spread
  • building on local knowledge and trusted partnerships our local plan adds to national programmes

Themes of the plan

The following are the themes of our plan.

Care homes and schools

Prevent and manage outbreaks in specific individual settings.

High risk places, locations and communities

Prevent and manage outbreaks in other high-risk locations, workplaces and communities.

Local testing capacity

Deploy local testing capacity optimally.

Contact tracing in complex settings

Deliver contact tracing for complex settings and cohorts.

Data integration

Access to the right local data to enable the other themes and prevent outbreaks.

Vulnerable people

Support vulnerable people and make sure services meet the needs of diverse communities.

Communication and engagement

Take local actions to contain outbreaks and communicate with the general public.

Additional themes

Other themes include:

  • keeping our workforce safe
  • communications and engagement to make sure that residents are well informed

Actions that might be taken

The following actions might be needed during an outbreak:

  • enhanced monitoring of people isolating
  • specific advice on personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control measures
  • contact tracing

This might also include:

  • alert messaging
  • focused testing of people with and without symptoms
  • special testing facilities set up
  • closure of premises
  • restricting visiting
  • cancelling events
  • closing playgrounds or other facilities

Managing risks locally

COVID-19 does not travel on its own. It is transmitted largely in droplets, coughed out by people who are infected.

Keeping a social distance, using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and disposing of them safely, washing hands often and isolating infectious people are key protection measures to prevent spread.

Some people seem more likely to catch COVID-19 or to become more sick as a result. These people need extra protection.

Some settings are more risky, for example where infectious people are being cared for, where social distancing and isolation are more challenging or where there are people at particular risk of harm from COVID-19.

It is likely that COVID-19 will be harder to spot and control in the winter and we need to be prepared.

We are developing a focussed outbreak plan for these settings and population groups:

  1. Nurseries
  2. Schools
  3. Care homes
  4. Colleges
  5. Hospices
  6. Workplaces
  7. Faith settings
  8. Military settings
  9. Out of hours provisions
  10. Community centres
  11. Contracted leisure facilities
  12. Council owned leisure facilities

How we will respond to a local outbreak

We will watch data on cases and risks closely, so we spot outbreaks early.

We will support our residents to stay safe, encouraging hand washing, social distancing and isolation and assisting those who need help to comply.

The actions we take will be those most likely to be effective, based on evidence.

We will act swiftly to put local actions in place to support Public Health England’s recommendations on controlling spread.

We will communicate with local people and organisations to help them keep safe.

Managing a local outbreak is a team effort. It will involve:

  • local authorities
  • Public Health England
  • NHS hospitals and clinics
  • the police
  • local businesses
  • care homes
  • schools, colleges and universities
  • communities

It will also involve:

  • NHS Test and Trace
  • National Joint Biosecurity Centre
  • Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum

What happens if there are cases?

A risk assessment will be carried out by Public Health England in the case of positive test results. They will then follow a pre-arranged process for creating an incident control team, if it is needed.

The full process is available in the document below.

Contact us if you suspect a case

If you think someone in your workplace, school or other setting has COVID-19, please let us know by emailing CV19notifications@westberks.gov.uk. This is monitored 7 days a week, from 9am to 5pm.

Communication with residents

Our Outbreak Engagement Board will be held in public every month and more often if needed, led by local councillors accountable to the public.

We will communicate with residents by:

  • keeping our website up to date with the latest information and guidance
  • using social media to spread the word
  • working with services, businesses and organisations to make sure information is clear and accurate
  • making sure information available in accessible formats and languages other than English


Governance of outbreaks will be carried out in several ways.

Two Berkshire Health Protection Boards

Oversee the whole project. Key partners will work together to control spread locally.

Bracknell Forest Council Outbreak Engagement Board

Will listen and engage with communities to keep the public informed about COVID-19.

Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum

Will put Command and Control arrangements in place to act across a broader geography if needed.

South East Regional Oversight Group

Will help us learn from other areas.

A hierarchy of governance is available in the document below.

Next steps

Our next steps are to:

  1. Refine the plan with partners.
  2. Adapt the plan as we learn more about COVID-19 and local outbreaks.
  3. Review our plans alongside new national programmes.

Download the plan

You can download a summary of the outbreak control plan.

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