Burnley environment squad called out to more than 30 workplace Covid-19 outbreaks in last year

Burnley Council’s environmental health team has responded to more than 30 workplace outbreaks of coronavirus since the pandemic began a year ago.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 8:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 8:54 am

It has also visited or given Covid-19 security advice to firms and shops across Burnley on 1,142 occasions.

The council’s track and trace team have responded to more than 1,000 requests to find contacts of coronavirus positive tests by knocking on doors or leaving letters for residents.

In addition the team has checked 776 of the 908 food premises across the borough in 2020/2021 and found 761 – 98% of those visited – compliant with food standards regulations.

Burnley Council's track and trace team have responded to more than 1,000 requests to find contacts of coronavirus positive tests by knocking on doors or leaving letters for residents. Photo: Getty

This compares with 771 checks out of 926 premises in 2019/20 of which 750 – 97% – were compliant.

In the past year the team carried out more than 30 visits to chip shops and more than 100 to other food retail businesses.

The figures are included in the 2020/21 annual Food Safety Delivery Plan report by Burnley Council.

It reveals: “In 2019/2020 we completed 245 inspections and there were 37 businesses on the intervention programme that were not visited which were due in February/March 2020.

“This was due to restrictions on entering and inspecting premises due to Covid-19.

“Up to February 2020, the team maintained a high level of performance in terms of numbers of food inspections carried out.

“As we were advised from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to discontinue with inspections due to Covid-19 issues towards the end of February 2020, we could not complete the food safety delivery programme.

“From the end of February/beginning of March 2020 we then entered a new phase where officers spent most of their time supporting and advising businesses in the borough on the public health issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Environmental Health and Licensing have played a vital role in explaining rules and regulations to the local businesses and supporting businesses in how to operate in a safe, Covid-secure way.

“We have completed 34 higher risk-rated inspections; completed 46 new inspections; responded to 551 service requests for food checks; contacted our manufacturers and approved premises and asked them for their Covid-19 risk assessments; sent out over 100 self -assessments to our lower-rated businesses and new businesses to allow us to prioritise and inspect the higher-risk new businesses.

“Officers in the Environmental Health team have also had to respond to hundreds of concerned members of the public with regard to Covid-19.”