Friday 30 April 2021
With coronavirus restrictions in place until at least June, please keep yourselves safe over the bank holiday.
Washing hands, wearing face coverings, and staying at least 2m away from anyone you don’t live with are still the most important things anyone can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from coronavirus.
Staying out in the fresh air is also essential in reducing the risk of future outbreaks, as well as taking up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccination.
Infection rates in North Somerset have fallen sharply as a result of lockdown, but numbers have been edging up over the last two weeks.
With restrictions lifting it can be easy to let our guard down and forget the basic safety steps we’ve all been taking this last year to reduce our risk of catching Covid.
Lower infection rates can also give as a sense of safety. But this is still a dangerous disease and we’ve seen how quickly things can take a turn for the worst if we aren’t careful.
We’ve all enjoyed reconnecting with our friends and family over the last few weeks and it could be really tempting to skip ahead and mix with more people than we should, or go inside if forecast rain reaches us on Monday.
Taking things slowing, one small step at a time, will let us keep moving forward.
Up to six people from different households or members of two households can meet outside under the current Covid restrictions. Outdoor hospitality can open, as well as most outdoor attractions.
Latest coronavirus data
Recorded cases of coronavirus have risen for a second week in North Somerset.
41 new cases have been identified in the latest seven-day period reported for North Somerset compared with 31 in the previous week. Our case rate per 100,000 head of population has increased to 19.1. This compares with a South West figure of 15.2, and an England rate of 24.5.
There is a lag in case data meaning the latest information is for the week ending Saturday 24 April.
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
Washing your hands, covering your face if you can, staying at least 2m away from people you don’t live with, making sure you have fresh air, and taking up the offer of a vaccination as soon as you are called are still the best things you can do to keep case rates down in North Somerset.
Vaccinations in North Somerset
The latest figures published show that up to 29 April 65.37% of North Somerset residents aged 16 and over have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.
You can view vaccination data on the NHS website.
If you’re 40 or over you can now book online for your vaccination or call 119 without having to wait to be invited by your GP.
Vaccination information language hub
If you or anyone you know doesn’t speak English as a first language you can find out more about the Covid-19 vaccine in various languages on the Healthier Together website.
There is information in many alternative languages spoken in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, which is our health authority area, including Polish, Romanian and British Sign Language.
The information is spoken in video format as well as written in fact sheets from various trusted sources.
Languages are listed in alphabetic order with various resources alongside. More language updates will be added soon.
New opening times for North Somerset Council Covid-19 symptom-free testing
Opening times for our symptom-free Covid-19 testing centres change tomorrow, Saturday 1 May.
The sites at Somerset Hall in Portishead, Scotch Horn Leisure Centre car park in Nailsea, and Hutton Moor car park in Weston-super-Mare will be open weekdays 8.30am-5.30pm with late opening Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9am-1pm on weekends and bank holidays.
You can get assisted tests, where you do your test on site, staff process the results and you get a text or email within 30 minutes to say if it's positive or negative.
Or you can collect home testing kits.
You also no longer need to book for assisted testing, but if you'd like to guarantee your time you can reserve as slot at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting
What’s your testing routine?
With everyone now encouraged to take twice-weekly Covid-19 tests it’s helpful to find a way to make them part of your own routine.
Some people are picking two days during the week and making them their testing days. Others are using established weekly activities to help remind them to do their test, like putting the bins out, taking the children to a swimming lesson, or visiting friends. Phone alarms and reminders are another tactic to help remember to get those tests done.
Whatever you do to help you remember to take your tests, there are a number of ways you can get yours, either for home use, or at one of our test centres where the results will be processed for you.
If you prefer to take your tests at home, you can pick up kits from a range of collection points across North Somerset.
Our council testing sites at Hutton Moor car park in Weston, Somerset Hall in Portishead, and Scotch Horn car park in Nailsea.
Pharmacies, including Worle, Yatton, Pill, Banwell, Wrington and Winscombe
Covid-19 testing sites at Locking Road car park in Weston and Bristol Airport
You nearest collection site and opening times can be found on the NHS Test and Trace map.
Or you can order kits for home delivery using the government’s rapid test online ordering system.
If you would rather take your test on site, where staff will process the results for you, you can do this at our testing centres at Hutton Moor car park, Scotch Horn car park and Somerset Hall, which are open weekdays 8.30am-5.30pm with late opening Tuesdays and Thursdays until 7.30pm, and 9am-1pm on weekends and bank holidays. You don’t need to book an appointment, but if you’d like to guarantee a time slot, or if you want to find out more about rapid testing, visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting
Vaccinations now open to over 40s
First dose vaccinations are now be offered to people in the next eligible group, 40-45 year olds, alongside making sure those who are due it can receive their second dose.
If you are over 40, or will turn 40 before 1 July 2021, you can book your Covid-19 vaccine now via theNational Booking Systemor by calling 119.
You might find that at first your 'nearest available' vaccination venue is actually further away than you're able to travel. If the website initially offers you an appointment at a venue that isn't suitable for you, you don't have to take that appointment. New dates and venues get added frequently so you can come back and try to book again later.
NHS care for the bank holiday
People often attend busy A&E departments if they have an urgent health care need out of hours and during bank holidays, but many illnesses or injuries can be treated more quickly and appropriately by going to the local minor injury unit in Clevedon, an emergency pharmacist or the out-of-hours GP service – all of which are available during evenings and weekends and over bank holidays, and can be accessed through NHS 111.
Our local NHS health service reminds us to follow these five steps:
Pick up prescriptions if you’re due to run out over the bank holiday
Check your medicine cabinet is well stocked so you can self-care for any minor illnesses
Know which pharmacies are open if you need emergency medication or advice
Use 111 first for urgent care
Use A&E for life threatening emergencies only.
NHS Test and Trace registration
Lots of premises must display an NHS QR code poster and ask anyone aged 16 and over to scan the code when visiting them. This includes pubs, restaurants, leisure facilities, and salons. If you don’t have a smart phone or you’re unable to scan the code, you'll need to leave your contact details in another way.
This is part of NHS Test and Trace and is for contact tracing purposes. It means businesses can react quickly to any cases of coronavirus and people can be notified if they might have been exposed to Covid-19 – helping to stop the spread.
Please be aware that if you’re visiting somewhere as a group (up to six people or two households), everyone in the group will have to check in. This is different from last year when one person could provide their info on behalf of the group.
Hospitality venues like pubs, bars and restaurants have a legal duty to refuse entry to anyone who won't give their contact details.
More guidance on the contact tracing requirements can be found at Gov.UK.
Covid-19 vaccination survey
As the Covid-19 vaccination gets offered to younger groups the NHS across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are planning and preparing for this.
As part of their work, they are asking people to share their thoughts and feelings about vaccinations and the potential Covid-19 vaccines.
Responses will help the NHS better understand how to communicate and engage with people about the Covid-19 vaccine programme.
This online survey will only take about five minutes to complete and they are particularly interested in the views of those who’ve not yet had an offer of a Covid-19 vaccination.
Promising Covid-19 vaccination study results
A new study by Public Health England (PHE) has shown that one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine reduces household transmission by up to half.
Studies have already demonstrated that being vaccinated against coronavirus significantly reduces your risk of being infected.
This new research shows that those who do become infected three weeks after receiving one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine were between 38% and 49% less likely to pass the virus on to their household contacts than those who were unvaccinated.
Protection was seen from around 14 days after vaccination, with similar levels of protection regardless of age of cases or contacts.
This protection is on top of the reduced risk of a vaccinated person developing symptomatic infection in the first place, which is around 60 to 65% – 4 weeks after one dose of either vaccine.
Symptomatic Covid-19 testing
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 – new continuous cough, loss of or change in sense of taste or smell, or a high temperature – must self-isolate and book a test straight away at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test orby calling 119. You should do this even if you think the symptoms have another cause, such as a cold or vaccination side effects.
You can get your symptomatic test in North Somerset at Locking Road car park (Weston-super-Mare), Castlewood (Clevedon) or Bristol Airport.
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 orby calling 119.
If the test is positive you will need to continue to isolate for 10 days, and your contacts will also need to start isolating for 10 days.
Self-isolating is essential in keeping the infection levels as low as possible in North Somerset.
If you need financial or practical support to self-isolate you can find information about what’s available, including details of the £500 self-isolation payment, at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/together
North Somerset Council’s Executive portfolios
Last week we shared news of changes that have been made to the council’s Executive.
Cllr Steve Bridger joined the Executive as lead member for Assets and Capital Delivery while adjustments were made to other portfolios. Cllr Mike Solomon became Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Services and Cllr Bridget Petty is Executive Member for Climate Emergency and Engagement.
Cllr Don Davies - Leader of the Council
Cllr Mike Bell - Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing
Cllr Catherine Gibbons - Executive Member for Children’s Services and Lifelong learning
Cllr Nicola Holland - Assistant Executive Member Post Covid Education and Skills recovery
Cllr Ash Cartman - Executive Member for Corporate Services
Cllr Bridget Petty - Executive Member for Climate Emergency and Engagement
Cllr Mark Canniford - Executive Member for Placemaking and Economy
Cllr Robert Payne - Assistant Executive Member Parking strategy and delivery
Cllr Mike Solomon - Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Services
Cllr Steve Bridger - Executive Member for Assets and Capital Delivery
You can find out more information about the responsibilities of each of the Executive members at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/executive
Bids encouraged for UK Community Renewal Fund
Businesses and organisations in North Somerset are being asked to apply for a share of the new UK Community Renewal Fund, recently launched by government.
Applications put forward will go through a shortlisting process, with successful proposals combined to submit a bid for a £3m funding pot. Individual organisations included in the combined bid will be awarded funding, if the council is successful.
As a Lead Authority, the council is inviting project bids in line with two themes: Inclusion and equality and thriving towns, villages and coastal communities.
Organisations will be asked to submit applications for projects that align to at least one of the following government priorities:
Investment in skills
Investment in local business
Investment in communities and place
Supporting people into employment
If the council is awarded the fund by central Government, it will administer the new funding to support local areas in preparation for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022.
The Invitation to Bid is available on the North Somerset Council business page.
A webinar for potential applicants will take place on Monday 10 May at 2pm. To register your interest contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses use social media to aid recovery of North Somerset’s high streets
As non-essential organisations re-opened their doors in April, a new project has been brought in to support local businesses with their online presence.
North Somerset Council, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and HM Government, is supporting the safe reopening of non-essential retail with social media consultant Maybe* to help them reach more customers and boost sales.
The new project will offer businesses:
free social media training and support
the creation of a network of connected traders that can support and promote each other
free weekly webinars with practical solutions and easy to use tools to connect with audiences
improved return on investment and understanding about how to stay ahead of the competition
The platform includes a Virtual High Street, showcasing live content from local businesses allowing shoppers to find businesses near them, view their recent social media content and engage with them.
To sign your business up today, follow the online sign up instructions.
In other news…
A370 in Weston closed for improvements A £45,000 maintenance scheme to improve the A370 Flowerdown Bridge in Weston starts on Tuesday 4 May.