North Somerset Council supports roadmap delay

12:00pm - 15 June 2021
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With Covid cases rising in North Somerset health leaders support the four-week delay in step four of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

The latest Covid cases reported show rates have more than doubled in the area against the previous seven days.

Instances of the Delta variant of the disease, which is now the most common strain of coronavirus in England, have also been increasing across the South West, including in Bristol, and 15 cases have been identified in North Somerset. This variant, which was first discovered in India, is known to be more infectious.

North Somerset Council’s Executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “We’ve taken some positive steps forward in our fight against coronavirus in the last few months, but we’ve always said it needs to be slow and steady progress. Case numbers have increased in North Somerset, in line with the rest of the country, so now is not the time to stop doing the essential things, like social distancing and wearing face coverings, that we know make a real difference to case numbers.

“Critically, everyone needs to get vaccinated when asked, including the important second dose.

“For businesses still struggling under the impact of restrictions we want to see more support coming from the government. But you can still contact our team to make sure you are getting everything you are already entitled to at businesssupport@n-somerset.gov.uk 

“Taking this cautious approach gives us the best chance of continuing to move forward and not having to go back into harsher restrictions.

“But it also relies on all of us continuing to play our part, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.”

Everyone in North Somerset can help keep infection rates down by following the health advice to wash hands, wear a face mask, stay at least 2m away from anyone they don’t live with, and stay outside or keep windows open. Groups of 30 can meet outside, and six people or two households inside. From 21 June the limit of 30 guests is removed from weddings and wakes, with no cap on numbers as long as guests can stay socially distanced at the venue.

With three out of every four adults now jabbed with a first dose, vaccinations are also helping to stop the spread of the virus, and people also less likely to get seriously ill or suffer long-term effects of Covid if they have been vaccinated. Two doses offer the best protection.

Twice weekly rapid no symptom testing, which is now available free for everyone, is also important as it is helping to find people who have come into contact with virus and those who are infectious but do not have symptoms. Testing also provides vital information to help local health teams understand how the virus is circulating in North Somerset’s population, which is why it is essential for negative and positive results to be reported. For more information visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting

Self-isolating following a positive test or developing symptoms or being identified as a close contact is also critical to stop the spread of infection and protect North Somerset communities form the virus.

Director of Public Health, Matt Lenny, said: “The more Covid cases we have the higher the risk is that a dangerous variant of the disease will emerge. This is why it remains critical for us to keep our rates low.

“We do this by continuing to do what we know works – hands, face, space, fresh air, test and vaccinate.

“It’s by doing all these things together that we will have the best chance to keep our rates low and move onto the next step when the time is right.”

Anyone who develops a new continuous cough, high temperature, or change to their sense of taste or smell must self-isolate straight away and book a symptomatic Covid-19 test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

If the test is positive, they will need to continue to isolate for 10 days, and their contacts will also need to start isolating for 10 days.

Anyone who needs financial or practical support to self-isolate can find information about what’s available, including details of the £500 self-isolation payment, at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/together