Coronavirus Update - Wednesday 6 January 2021
Message from the Leader of the Council, Don Davies
As the new lockdown measures begin, I am calling on you and everyone else across North Somerset to play your part and help reduce infection rates.
The virus has hit its highest levels of infection since the pandemic started and it’s never been more vital for everyone to follow the advice and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
This virus is not about the numbers, it’s about people affected by coronavirus. It may be a mild disease for some, but for many people it is having a devastating impact resulting in death or long-term health implications. We now know the new variant of the disease is significantly more transmissible than the last. If we don’t act now, we will have more infections and inevitably more deaths in our community.
Please do everything you can to protect yourself, your loved ones and your local community. The actions we take now will save lives.
This won’t be easy. Many of you will again be juggling the demands of work life while trying to home school children. Some of you will be living alone and facing the prospect of more time away from family and friends. Some of you will be unable to work again or be worried about the future of your business. Some of you will be concerned for loved ones who are more vulnerable and shielding again.
Whatever your circumstances, there is support available. Throughout the pandemic we have seen the immense kindness in our communities. We have our North Somerset Together network up and running to help those in greatest need. Thank you to all of you who make it happen.
Over the coming days and weeks we will keep you updated with all the latest advice and support to get us all through this. Please keep looking out for that info on our website, Facebook, Twitter and in the press.
Businesses can get the latest information about grants and support from In North Somerset
We will get through this. The vaccination is now being rolled out and that gives us hope, with the prospect of being able to do more of the things we love as this year unfolds.
So please play your part and together we will get through the next few weeks and look forward to a brighter future.
Cllr Don Davies, Leader of North Somerset Council
Latest case data
North Somerset’s case rates are now at an all-time high and are likely to keep rising. The North Somerset seven-day rate is 360.4 per 100,000 head of population. This is a steep increase on the last figures we shared with you in December, which then stood at 125.6. This compares to the South West seven-day rate of 321.9 and the rate for England at 579.8.
There is a lag in case data meaning the latest information is for the week ending Saturday 1 January.
You can see more detail on our local case data at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/lomp.
Case data is also available at national, regional, council and neighbourhood level at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/cases
Council services during lockdown
Throughout the pandemic critical council services such as kerbside recycling and waste collections, social care, care connect, road repairs, gritting and community meals have continued. This will not change during England’s latest lockdown.
Recycling centres and car parks will also remain open. As we have been doing, we will monitor their use and make changes if needed.
Parks and play areas and public toilets are staying open for use during daily exercise.
The Town Hall will continue to offer pre-booked essential appointments, and children’s centres are also open for appointments, including midwifery.
Click and collect is available at libraries, but they will be closed during the lockdown period. Loans will automatically be extended to at least March.
The Motex centre in Weston continues to offer pre-booked appointments for those who may need mobility equipment or demonstrations.
Weddings can continue at the town hall with a maximum of six guests, and birth and death registrations also continue by appointment.
Blue badge applications and renewals can be done over the telephone.
The Playhouse Theatre, Tropicana, Bay Café and The Campus in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset Hall in Portishead, and all leisure centres are closed.
Mobile testing units
For anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus the mobile testing units continue to operate at Locking Road car park, Weston-super-Mare, and Castlewood in Clevedon.
The Department for Health and Social Care (government) decides where to have mobile testing units and when they will be open. We currently expect both sites to be available every day until at least Monday 11 January, and for as long as they continue to be needed.
The teams running the sites are mobile and cover the south west region and can be moved at short notice. The unit that was covering Clevedon has been temporarily taken off the road, so it has not been able to open today (Wednesday) and will still be out of action tomorrow (Thursday). The government teams are working to get cover for our site.
You can book a test online at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. If you have symptoms, book a test.
England is now back in lockdown. Everyone should stay at home and only leave for specific reasons:
- To go to work - where working from home is not possible
- For exercise
- For shopping for essentials
- For medical assistance
- To escape domestic abuse.
All schools are closed for face to face learning except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Free school meals provision will continue.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people must begin shielding again and will receive a letter from government about this.
More information about the detail of the lockdown available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
Support and childcare bubbles
Support and childcare bubbles are permitted during the latest lockdown. You may already be in a bubble, or you can create one to help you during these restrictions.
You are allowed to create both a support bubble and a childcare bubble if needed, but you must follow the rules of each.
A support bubble links two households to create a support network. You can form a support bubble with one other household but only if you meet the eligibility rules.
A childcare bubble links two households to provide informal childcare. If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble which allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare. You should not socialise with members of your childcare bubble.
Parents sharing custody of a child with someone they do not live with do not need to form a support bubble or childcare bubble with the other parent.
You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or your support bubble if you are legally permitted to create one.
You must avoid seeing members of your support bubble and childcare bubble at the same time.
You should not meet anyone else.
Always stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or bubble.
Find out more about the eligibility rules to form a legally-permitted support bubble or for a childcare bubble.
North Somerset Together
The network of volunteers who have helped residents across North Somerset throughout this pandemic is on hand for anyone who has no support from family or friends or who is socially isolated.
Circumstances may have changed since the start of the pandemic 10 months ago. If you or anyone you know now needs support local group details can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/together or call 01934 427 437.
Those who are shielding can also register with the National Shielding Support Service to get access to priority supermarket slots.
The chancellor has announced support for businesses including:
One-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the spring.
£594 million discretionary fund to support other impacted businesses.
This is in addition to the grants and funding already on offer, and the furlough scheme.
Full details of what is available and information on how to apply can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport
We will share more details of the new grants when more information is available.
Mass vaccination centre confirmed
This afternoon the Prime Minister’s press secretary briefed on the role of Ashton Gate as a national vaccination centre.
BNSSG continues to co-ordinate the rollout of vaccinations in North Somerset, as well as Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
We will share more information with you as it is confirmed by our health partners.