Contributing factors and mitigation strategies for enduring COVID-19 prevalence. Report 2 – Barriers and facilitators to local strategies used to control COVID-19 transmission

Angelique Hartwig, Sheena Johnson, Catherine Lewis, Anna Coleman, Nicola Gartland, Janet Ubido, Amit Gaokar, C J Armitage, David Fishwick, Arpana Verma, Martie Van Tongeren, Helen Kreissl

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Variations in enduring prevalence of COVID-19 have been identified, and several local UK authority areas have experienced sustained high levels of the virus. This report (Report 2) examines the mitigation strategies implemented by Directors of Public Health across England during the course of the pandemic. A companion report (Report 1) examines key drivers of prevalence, and variations between local authority areas.
Methods
Semi-structured interviews with 19 Directors of Public Health across England were
conducted between July and November 2021. Nine of the 19 interviews were in areas identified as areas of enduring prevalence by Public Health England (PHE; Gov.uk, 2021; SAGE, 2021) and ten were included as comparison areas that had not experienced enduring prevalence up until the time of data collection. Directors of Public Health were asked about barriers to reducing transmission as well as the effectiveness of local and national mitigation strategies.
Results
Directors of Public Health and their teams implemented a variety of mitigation strategies over the course of the pandemic including local contact tracing, testing and vaccination efforts, isolation support, communication campaigns, engagement with communities, business, and education. However, we found no major differences in strategies used by Directors of Public Health between the areas of high enduring prevalence and other local authorities. Other
than differences in structural indicators such as levels of deprivation, which are discussed in more detail in Report 1, there were no major differences between areas of enduring prevalence and comparison areas in barriers and facilitators of COVID-19 control.
Conclusion
A number of barriers to reducing COVID-19 transmission were identified, along with a broad range of local and national mitigation strategies. Differences in implemented mitigation strategies do not appear to explain the differences in prevalence between areas. Participants asserted that more research is needed to understand the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPROTECT National Core Study Report (HSE)
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022

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