Friday 29 January 2021
Latest case data
538 new cases have been identified compared with 796 the previous week. Our case rate per 100,000 head of population currently stands at 250.2 compared with a South West figure of 247.9 and an England rate of 373.2.
There is a lag in case data meaning the latest information is for the week ending Saturday 23 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
Covid-19 testing for people with symptoms extended in Weston
North Somerset will have more Covid-19 testing slots for people with symptoms from later this week.
The mobile testing site at Locking Road car park, Weston-super-Mare, is being converted to a different type of local test centre, which will allow walk-in appointments as well as opening longer hours. The change also means swabs will no longer be done by people sitting in their cars.
Work at the site to install new temporary structures for the centre began on Wednesday weather and testing is expected to begin tomorrow (Saturday 30 January).
The current mobile testing unit, which operates from the car park, will continue to offer tests until the new centre is open.
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 – new continuous cough, loss of or change in sense of taste or smell, or a high temperature – should self-isolate and book a test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
The new Locking Road car park site will be open seven days a week from 8am-8pm and will be operated by contractors working on behalf of the government’s Department for Health and Social Care. It will run alongside the mobile site at Castlewood in Clevedon and the centre at Bristol Airport.
A mobile testing unit (MTU) will continue to operate at Castlewood in Clevedon for those arriving in a car. This will be in place until at least Friday 5 February with a rest day for the team on Tuesday 2 February.
Unable to work from home? Book a rapid Covid-19 test
If you cannot work from home, even if it’s only occasionally, you can now get regular coronavirus tests.
Our rapid testing, which takes less than 15 minutes and gives you results in under an hour, are for anyone who does not have symptoms of coronavirus and can be booked now in Portishead and Weston-super-Mare.
Somerset Hall, Portishead, and Hutton Moor Leisure Centre, Weston, are open 8.30am-5pm daily.
We encourage critical workers and volunteers who cannot work from home during lockdown to get tested weekly.
Rapid community testing aims to find people who are infectious with Covid-19 but do not have symptoms. This allows them to isolate, taking the virus out of the community and stopping the spread.
As a negative test is only as good as the moment it is taken, it cannot be used as a reason to avoid following Covid safety guidelines. It is vital those who test negative continue to wash their hands, wear a face covering if they can, keep at least 2m away from anyone not in their household or social bubble, and follow lockdown rules.
North Somerset rapid testing is for people aged 16 and over. For more information and to book visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting
Prohibition notices served on two businesses
Our officers served prohibition notices on two businesses in Weston-super-Mare yesterday (Thursday 28 January).
The hand car washes in Locking Road and Winterstoke Road have been operating sporadically during the current lockdown.
Non-automated car washes are not permitted to operate at the moment.
These two businesses will be monitored to ensure they stay closed.
We will follow up any information about other businesses who are open in contravention of current restrictions.
Time to talk?
Thursday (4 February) is national "Time to Talk Day". The theme for the day this year is 'the power of small'. This could include sending a quick message to a colleague, sharing a virtual lunchbreak or making a phone call to a friend.
These are all important actions that we can all make to ease the feelings of isolation and to become more connected.
So do reach out and make time to connect with colleagues, friends and family.
Local vaccination centres
GP vaccination sites GP Practices have been working together in groups called ‘Primary Care Networks’ to provide the vaccine.
Vaccination sites run by GPs are located at:
Riverbank Medical Centre, Weston-super-Mare
Pudding Pie Lane Surgery, Langford
Brockway Medical Centre, Nailsea
Portishead Medical Centre
Ashton Gate Stadium NHS Vaccination Centre Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol is our local super vaccination centre which is vaccinating people from 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week.
Pharmacies Locking Pharmacy, Weston-super-Mare, is now inviting people in priority groups to receive their Covid-19 vaccination.
The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Please do not to contact your GP surgery, local vaccination site or pharmacy for a vaccination before then.
Helping businesses through the pandemic
We held a webinar yesterday (Thursday 28 January) to provide information to businesses on the support available to them during the pandemic.
If you missed it you can still view it on our YouTube channel.
The council has also set up a dedicated phone line - 01934 888 114 - and email address - email@example.com - for businesses negatively affected by Covid-19. The council's specialist team will help them identify which grants they are eligible for and how to claim those grants.
Among the grants available is the 'Closed Business Lockdown Payment' announced by the Government earlier this month where retail, hospitality and leisure businesses closed during the current lockdown are entitled to one-off top-up grants up to £9,000 to support them until the spring. Grants are:
£4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
£6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
£9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.
The council has been awarded a further £16m to support local businesses via this new grant. It is now contacting businesses directly and anticipates making payments by the end of January.
On top of these grants the council is offering extra payments to hospitality businesses in North Somerset. Before Christmas it contacted over 300 pubs, restaurants and cafes setting out how to claim this additional funding, but so far only a third of those businesses have come forward to claim the payments.
Pubs and restaurants can claim £3,000 in total, paid at £1,000 per month for December, January and February. Cafes with between one and 10 employees can claim £500 for each of the three months, and cafes employing 11 or more people can claim £1,000 a month.
If you run a pub, café or restaurant and have not yet claimed these payments contact the council via the dedicated phone number or email address.
Resources for raising awareness about vaccine fraud
Criminals are using the coronavirus vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages telling people they are eligible for the vaccine or are phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS or their local pharmacy.
The government has developed resources, including posters and guides, to help to spread the word about the importance of staying alert to vaccine fraud, which you can use locally www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-for-raising-awareness-about-vaccine-fraud
Partnership working support the NHS
With the NHS under extreme pressure in the midst of the most critical stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has sought to provide assistance where possible to assist health colleagues on the frontline.
The LRF - which is made up of emergency services, local authorities, NHS organisations and other key agencies - is meeting multiple times a week to provide additional resources to tackle the health emergency and keep the public safe. These range from offering extra staff to tackling logistical challenges as part of the vaccine roll-out.
Vaccination centres Several organisations are supporting the NHS roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations, both at primary care network (PCN) sites and larger centres. This month has seen patients attend Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol and Taunton Racecourse for vaccinations, with new sites across Avon and Somerset due to open soon.
The armed forces are among those involved in supporting that effort. The RAF helped with setting up the Ashton Gate centre and clinically-trained personnel - predominantly from the Royal Navy - began carrying out vaccinations in mid-January.
Councils have continued to work closely with their local CCGs too to ensure travel arrangements, especially for the larger centres, are in place to make things as smooth as possible for patients and people in those communities. Marshals have also been at vaccination centres too to provide assistance, while councils are also promoting key messages from health organisations to ensure the public stay informed and up-to-date with the latest health guidance and advice.
Police are providing security advice where necessary and have offered the NHS use of its buildings for administrative means, if required.
Testing South Gloucestershire and North Somerset councils have worked together to jointly procure and roll-out a programme of rapid testing for Covid-19. The testing is targeted at people who must continue to provide critical services during lockdown and may be carrying the virus without displaying symptoms.
Additional ambulance drivers The region's two fire services - Avon and Somerset and Devon and Somerset - have both been providing extra qualified drivers to assist South Western Ambulance Service throughout the pandemic. Those helping are qualified to drive emergency vehicles with blue lights and are first aid trained and can offer support to paramedics at some incidents.
Avon and Somerset Police, along with the other police forces in the South West, were approached to provide mutual aid to the ambulance service. However, the mutual aid request by the ambulance trust has now been rescinded. It can be revisited if necessary in due course.
North Somerset Together – helping you through lockdown and self-isolation
As well as providing practical support to our community through a network of local volunteers, North Somerset Together also includes an online portal which signposts to information and support available to anyone self-isolating or struggling with lockdown.
Alongside the forms to request help from volunteers with shopping and prescriptions if you are shielding, you will also find details of who is eligible and how to claim the £500 government grants for anyone who has to self-isolate.
There are links to local organisations that can help if you have financial challenges, as well as advice on mental and physical wellbeing.
To find out more visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/together
In other news…
Festival Way upgrade The Festival Way is getting £170,000 of investment to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the busy B3128.
Financial help is available for people on low income in North Somerset struggling during the coronavirus pandemic this winter.
Works on the town centre improvement scheme is to begin in Weston-super-Mare’s town centre next month.
Residents and professionals are being asked to get involved in shaping the future of health and wellbeing in North Somerset.
Marketing and Communications North Somerset Council
Tel: 01934 634 996