Statement from Jim McManus, Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council...
Statement from Jim McManus, Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council.
“A number of people have contacted the county council to raise concerns about an open contract on the Government website for the county council to recruit a further 60 Covid Marshals from July 2021. The proposed use of Covid Marshals is available to read alongside the county council’s wider approach to Covid-19 in the council’s Local Outbreak Plan.
“The Local Outbreak Plan, and as part of that the plan for Covid Marshals, was unanimously supported by two key countywide agencies based on guidance issued by Government. The Health Protection Board is a multi-agency Board set up on direction of Government to prevent and manage outbreaks. The Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG) of the Local Resilience Forum is a collaboration of all the public agencies in Hertfordshire and is tasked with ensuring the county is well prepared for all emergencies we may face.
“In line with the Government’s projections for the roadmap out of lockdown, we are working towards restrictions being eased by 21 June 2021, but we know that the virus is still circulating and will be for some time.
“We know from last year that numbers of infections can change rapidly, and Government are very clear that we should plan in case a third wave arises. It would be a dereliction of duty not to prepare for a third wave, at the same time as doing all we can to prevent it happening by keeping infections as low as possible so we can enjoy summer with no restrictions.
“Covid Marshals are a very effective asset in the fight against Covid-19 and one of the key ways we manage local outbreaks as they continue to occur in our communities. Feedback from Hertfordshire schools, businesses and health partners is that they provide reassurance and encourage simple but effective infection control measures such as social distancing, hand washing, face coverings and ventilation. For example, in the weeks leading up to Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap Covid Marshals visited nearly 4,000 businesses across the county to provide advice and guidance on reopening safely.
“The funding for this contract is provided by a Government grant and no council tax money is being used to fund the provision. Covid Marshals do not have enforcement powers and the recruitment of more Covid Marshals is not indicative of any increases in restrictions from July 2021 onwards.”