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Newcastle's COVID Control Plan

The Newcastle COVID Control Plan sets out the collaborative approach to be taken in Newcastle to prevent a new COVID-19 outbreak in the city as well as the response and control plans that would need to be implemented in the event of an outbreak.

It has been developed to support the national NHS test and trace programme by providing a coordinated local approach to contain and manage local outbreaks of COVID-19. 

The working plan was approved by the City Futures Board (formerly Wellbeing for Life Board) at a virtual meeting held on Monday June 29, 2020.

It is built around seven key themes with an emphasis on prevention and building on the well-established partnerships and collaboration in the city. The themes are: 

  1. Planning for local outbreaks in care homes and schools 

  1. Identifying and planning how to manage high risk places, locations and communities of interest 

  1. Identifying methods for local testing to ensure a swift response that is accessible to the entire population

  1. Assessing local and regional contact tracing capability in complex settings

  1. Data integration

  1. Vulnerable people - supporting vulnerable local people to get help to self-isolate and ensuring services meet the needs of diverse communities 

  1. Local Boards - establishing governance structures led by existing COVID-19 Health Protection Boards in conjunction with local NHS and supported by existing Gold command forums and a new member-led Board to communicate with the general public 

The full plan is available to view here.

Frequently Asked Questions

A full set of FAQs are detailed below and will be updated frequently as and when the plans develop and take shape. 

What is Newcastle’s COVID Control Plan?

Newcastle’s COVID Control Plan is a citywide strategy focusing on the economic recovery of Newcastle and the implementations of plans to prevent and control further localised outbreaks of coronavirus, including the NHS Test and Trace System.

The government instructed all upper tier local authorities (county councils and unitary authorities) to produce Local Outbreak Plans by the end of June 2020. Local authorities have a significant role to play in the identification and management of COVID-19 outbreaks and these plans ensure that any local outbreak is responded to swiftly, protecting communities and helping prevent the spread of the virus.

The plans are built around seven key themes, prescribed by government, with an emphasis on prevention and building on the well-established, successful partnerships and collaboration in the city. The plans will be locally focused, looking at prevention and control whilst preparing plans for any community outbreaks.

Who will manage the COVID Control Plan?

It will be governed by the City Futures Board (formerly Wellbeing for Life Board) which has membership from the council, local health partners, universities and voluntary sector. City Council on June 24 approved a proposal which will see the Board take on the role of the Newcastle COVID Recovery Board for an initial six months, meeting more frequently and increasing the scope of its membership to include organisations and key businesses that have a vital role to play in the ongoing prevention of the virus and citywide recovery.

What is NHS Test and Trace?

NHS Test and Trace ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and helps identify close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Is this just happening in Newcastle?

Newcastle was selected as one of 11 locations in England to trial the new system before it is launched nationally. Local plans are still being finalised, but it is hoped they include Gateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

What happens if there is a local outbreak in my community?

The precise action that will be taken will be depends on upon the complexity of the outbreak. The plans have been produced on a tiered scale depending on severity.

As soon as an outbreak is detected, Public Health professionals will identify, and agree on early intervention measures to be taken to stop the spread before it escalates further into the community.

 The action that is taken will depend on the severity of the outbreak and the most appropriate measures. Depending on the severity, the outbreak will fall into one of four possible scenarios:

Green - ‘Wraparound team’ response
Amber – Contained response
Red – Formal outbreak response
Red+ - Escalation to major incident

When should I book a test?

Only request a COVID-19 test if you are displaying symptoms. This could be one or more symptoms of a new and persistent cough, a high temperature, or a loss of taste and/or smell.

If you are in self-isolation because a member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19, you do not need to get tested but you must carry out the full self-isolation period of 14 days.

How NHS Trace and Track works -

I have symptoms of coronavirus.

  • Isolate as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms and order a test on or call 119 if you have no internet access.
  • Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started. They don’t need to order a test until they have symptoms.
  • If your test is positive you must complete the remainder of your 7-day isolation – the people in your household must also finish their 14-day isolation.
  • The NHS Test and Trace service will send a text, email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details with people with whom you have had close, recent contact with and places you have visited.
  • If your test comes back negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate.

I have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service because I have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

  • You will be alerted by NHS Test and Trace – the alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You will then need log onto the Test and Trace website or a trained call handler will talk you through the next step. Under 18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue,
  • You will be told to begin to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has test positive. You must do this even if you don’t feel unwell because you may have been infected and could infect other people.
  • Other members of your household don’t need to self-isolate if you have not shown any symptoms – but take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact at home.
  • If you do develop symptoms you must follow the steps detailed in the point above – self-isolate, order a test and your household will also need to self-isolate for 14 days. Even if this test comes back negative you must still complete your 14 day isolation as the virus may not be detectable yet – but you could unknowingly be spreading the virus.

How will this work to stop infection outbreaks in Newcastle?

People with COVID-19 symptoms, others in their household and people they have encountered will go into self-isolation, preventing them from spreading the virus with the wider community. This will enable most people to return to a more normal way of life. However, it only works if everybody who is required to self-isolate does so for the necessary length of time.

How is all this work being coordinated?

Directors of Public Health at local authorities across the North East are working with health colleagues to establish and implement a Local Outbreak Control Plan.

This plan will bring in partners from both the council, NHS and other local services as part of local boards. These boards will be able to make decisions, engage with the public and respond to local outbreaks.

The structure of these boards is still being finalised, however it is hoped the current Wellbeing For Life board and Integrated Health Partnership would be appropriate places to start shaping the new plans.

How do I know the person claiming to be contact tracing is genuine?

NHS contract tracers will first speak to you about your positive diagnosis to ensure you understand the self-isolation guidance and know what is being asked of yourself and others in your household.

You will then be asked about the places you have been and the people you have spent a significant amount of time with. They are particularly interested in people you have been near for periods of 15 minutes or more.

They will never ask you to make any form of payment, provide bank details, give any password or PIN number, request you download something, or ask you to call a premium rate phone number.

What testing facilities are available in Newcastle?

A drive-through facility recently opened at Newcastle Great Park on May 21, replacing a previous facility at IKEA in Gateshead which had to relocate as the business looked to reopen.

At the end of May, a walk-through centre opened at the Siemens site at Shields Road, Byker. This facility is intended for people within walking distance of the facility who have COVID-19 symptoms and have booked a testing appointment. If you live locally and do not have the means to access the drive-through site, you can book an appointment by calling 0191 6913656 between 9am-5pm Monday to Sunday.

For more ways to book a COVID-19 test, visit the NHS website here.

Will I only have to self-isolate once?

Not necessarily. You will only be asked to self-isolate because of a positive result once. But you may be asked to self-isolate several times because of close contact with a confirmed case.

I have done an anti-body test and it confirmed I have already had the virus – do I still need to self isolate?

The Government said this will make no difference and you must follow the instructions around self-isolation. The science remains unclear about how much immunity you get from having Covid-19.

Key updates

Press release dated 29/06/2020 on publishing of Newcastle COVID Control Plan - click here


Please note that this page remains in development and more detailed plans concerning specific areas will be available as soon as possible.

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