Blackburn & Darwen County Council


Written by:
Mia Collett,
Business Manager

The Problem

Throughout the challenging period of the Covid-19 pandemic, our team played a vital role in tracking and managing Covid data. This involved a comprehensive process encompassing the continuous monitoring of various pandemic-related metrics, in-depth analysis of the gathered data, and the subsequent reporting of findings at bi-weekly Situation Report (sit-rep) meetings led by the Director of Public Health (DPH).

The primary objective was to leverage the collected data to provide meaningful insights that could contribute to the formulation of an effective Public Health (PH) response to the outbreak. Our monitoring efforts ensured the real-time capture of crucial information related to Covid cases, patients, and other pertinent metrics.

The Solution

Our collaborative efforts ensured a consistent flow of the latest Covid figures for the authority. This facilitated timely media announcements, particularly in response to large outbreaks and the emergence of new variants. The synergy between the teams extended to the targeted, effective, and efficient delivery of vaccination campaigns. Within the Public Health team, there was a comprehensive understanding of Covid deaths, derived from local mortality analysis. The analysis we conducted delved into factors that made a Blackburn resident more susceptible to succumbing to Covid, and the insights gained were actively utilised in preventative work. Furthermore, in the aftermath of each Covid wave, the collaborative efforts transitioned into recovery work. This involved working closely with schools and various Blackburn-wide services to implement restoration strategies, contributing to a holistic approach to Public Health management.

The Result

Regular presentations of fresh data at each meeting for senior colleagues, including the Director of Public Health (DPH), were a cornerstone of our approach. This involved not only sharing up-to-date Covid case, hospital patient, and death data but also incorporating trend analysis and outbreak alerts. These insights played a crucial role in safeguarding the Blackburn population by informing timely and targeted interventions. To enhance precision, we conducted small area analysis and GIS mapping with a specific focus on vulnerable populations, such as those in care homes. The information gleaned from this analysis became a valuable resource for both the Health Protection and Media teams across the authority.

The data on Covid cases, hospitalisations, and deaths were not just numbers; they formed the basis for informed decision-making in the development of vaccination programmes. Targeting high infection areas became possible through the strategic use of this data. Moreover, recognising a strong link to deprivation, our insights empowered the communications team to identify and engage with populations most at risk. This impactful work garnered recognition and led to the publication of an article in The Guardian.

Beyond routine data presentations, our commitment extended to variant tracking and research. We consistently kept the Media team and Professor Dominic Harrison, the former Director of Public Health, informed of the latest variants. This proactive approach facilitated the preparation of press releases and media interviews, ensuring that the public received accurate and timely information on evolving Covid scenarios. The cohesive integration of data-driven insights and strategic communication efforts underscored our commitment to comprehensive public health management and transparent communication during these challenging times.

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