Stay at home to save lives

12:14pm - 15 January 2021
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Staying at home is best thing we can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the NHS, as the coronavirus pandemic enters its most dangerous phase.

The NHS is at its most critical point in its Covid response, with the disease still spreading fast before the effects of the first vaccinations can be felt.

Please minimise all contact with other people during this life-threatening time and only leave home for essential purposes.

Everyone’s individual behaviours can determine how the virus spreads, so simply staying at home will protect those you care about and the capacity of our hospitals.

Most people are complying with the rules but for the minority who don’t, police will now be tougher on issuing fines.

However, the police will still be there to help the most in need, including those at risk of domestic abuse.

Health chiefs have called this the biggest health emergency since the Second World War and North Somerset’s coronavirus rates are now at their highest level since the start of the pandemic.

The latest reported figures show a seven-day rate of 416.6 per 100,000 of population, compared with the previous peak of 305.5 during November’s lockdown.

Hard-hitting short films of local people and their real-life experiences of the pandemic have been released by health and care leaders across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) area.

Covid Stories, put together by the Healthier Together partnership, include two who sadly lost loved ones to coronavirus.

Last year was difficult as everyone had to adapt to new ways of living and changing restrictions, but it’s essential that everyone continues to respect the rules and works together to bring infection rates down.

Every day that goes by is a day closer to the end of the pandemic. By 1 February we will have 81 more daylight minutes than we did on the shortest day and before we know it, the weather will be warmer and signs of spring will appear.

If you have concerns about how the new lockdown might affect your ability to access essential support at home, visit North Somerset Together on the council’s website or call 01934 427 437.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you must shield again and only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Information about the financial and practical support which is available for anyone who needs to self-isolate can be found on the council’s website.

Remember, always stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household or bubble. If you do leave home for one of the specified reasons, always stay local to the village or town where you live.

Community testing launches next week

Anyone living or working in North Somerset will be able to get tested for coronavirus from next week.

The community rapid testing is for people who don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus but would still like to get tested.

Critical workers and volunteers in roles which bring them into contact with the community are encouraged to use the testing, such as those delivering key services like childcare, transport, essential shopping, and looking after vulnerable people.

Finding people who have Covid-19 but with no symptoms is helpful because they can then isolate and prevent the virus from spreading.

The first testing site launches at Somerset Hall,  in Portishead, on Monday (18 January). It will be open seven days a week, from 9am-5pm for pre-booked appointments.

A second site is expected to follow soon, with information announced when the details are finalised.

For more information about testing visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting. Slots can be booked now at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/bookrapidtest

If you do show any symptoms, no matter how mild, you must book a coronavirus test.

Vaccination rollout – mass vaccination centre

The NHS is inviting eligible people – in a phased way as supplies allow – to get vaccinated at the new mass vaccination centre at Ashton Gate in Bristol.

It is important that you wait for your letter from the NHS as you will not be able to book without one.

If you have received a letter and live with someone who is also eligible but has not yet received their letter, it is likely that theirs will follow shortly. If you like, you can wait and book at the same time.

The NHS has confirmed that the seven mass vaccination centres (including Ashton Gate) are an additional option for people to get vaccinated if it is convenient for them.

If you have received a letter inviting you to book and would prefer to be vaccinated more locally, you can wait to hear from your GP surgery in the coming weeks. Please do not contact them, they will contact you.

Need other medical help?

If you need other urgent medical help, call 111 first or visit NHS 111 online. Operators will help you get the right help, at the right time in the right location, such as the Minor Injury Unit in Clevedon.