Below is a briefing from the Council’s Chief Executive on the Covid-19 outbreak which we now know took place in Edinburgh in February. This was kept from the public until the BBC reported it on Monday the 11th of May. I asked about the report on Tuesday and was told that the outbreak had been discussed in late February (this has now been retracted) and that Councillors on EIJB were told (they deny this). I was also led to understand the Council Leader was informed at the time, but it now transpires he was told “3 weeks after lockdown”.
I agreed to provide the factual position with regard to the Reporting Scotland story regarding the Nike Conference last night from a City of Edinburgh Council perspective. In doing so I would flag that contact tracing of potential COVID-19 cases was conducted by the local Health Protection Team in NHS Lothian as per the existing process. Communication to Council Officers was via by the local Health Protection Team in NHS Lothian to our Environmental Health Service as per established infectious disease outbreak procedures. In terms of the facts:
- The Nike Conference took place 26/27 Feb 2020.
- Council EH teams were advised by local health protection team on 3 March that there was a ‘suspected case of COVID-19’ which was being investigated and that the Council would be updated when results were confirmed
- There was then dialogue between the local Health Protection Team in NHS Lothian and our Environmental Health Service whilst results were awaited. On the 6 Mar 2020 the case was confirmed. At this stage the Exec Director and Chief Exec were advised
- On 6 Mar Chief Exec spoke to NHS Lothian to seek reassurance that CEC will be kept fully informed of the development of cases
- EH confirmed with HPT that no assistance was required with further contact tracing and given the time lapse and that there was no intervention needed at hotel (the virus is believed to exist in the environment for no more than 72 hours and therefore by the time CEC was first alerted this phase had passed)
- NHS Lothian were following up with other Health Boards regarding the situation including further tracing if required. The NHS were managing this incident including what information could be shared.
It should be noted that the Council stood up the Council Incident Management Team on the 27th February to coordinate the Council’s response to the COIVD-19 crisis and I am confident that in this instance the Council responded in the appropriate manner.