Friday 16 April 2021
Latest coronavirus data
Recorded cases of coronavirus have continued to fall in North Somerset.
31 new cases have been identified in the latest seven-day period reported for North Somerset compared with 39 the previous week. Our case rate per 100,000 head of population has decreased to 14.4. This compares with a South West figure of 13.8, and an England rate of 28.0.
There is a lag in case data meaning the latest information is for the week ending Saturday 10 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
Vaccinations in North Somerset
The latest figures published show that up to 15 April 64.21% 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 45 or over you can now book online for your vaccination or call 119 without having to wait to be invited by your GP.
Funeral arrangements for His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh
The funeral of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will take place on Saturday (17 April).
There’ll be a national minute’s silence at 3pm, at the start of the funeral. Our services and venues that are open at that time will be observing the silence and the Union flag will still be flying at half-mast over the Town Hall in Weston and Castlewood in Clevedon.
We understand that local businesses may be pausing trading for that minute to observe the silence. The government has set out guidance about the national period of mourning on their website which includes a short section for businesses.
Should you wish to leave a personal message of condolence you can at www.royal.uk
In keeping with protocol and guidance, flags should return to full mast from 8am on Sunday.
Covid-19 home testing kit collection points expanded
Anyone who lives or works in North Somerset without symptoms of coronavirus can collect free rapid tests to do themselves at home from a range of pharmacies and collection points across North Somerset.
A total of 38 pharmacies across the area, including Locking, Winscombe, Congresbury, Backwell, Yatton, Long Ashton, Pill and Wrington, now offer the collection service alongside Hutton Moor leisure centre in Weston, Somerset Hall in Portishead, and Scotch Horn car park in Nailsea.
You can also pick up home test kits from the Covid-19 testing sites at Locking Road car park in Weston and Bristol Airport daily from 2.30-8pm.
You nearest collection site can be found on the NHS Test and Trace map.
If you would rather take your test on site, where staff will process the results for you, our testing centres at Hutton Moor, Scotch Horn car park and Somerset Hall are open seven days a week 8.30am-5.30pm with late opening until 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information and to book visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting
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.
Local vaccination update
Thanks to the thousands of people involved, the NHS has now offered vaccines to everyone aged 50 and over as well as millions of health and social care workers, unpaid carers and people at higher clinical risk – over 27 million first doses.
Having reached this important milestone, they are now offering first dose vaccinations to people in the next eligible group 45-49 year olds, alongside making sure those who are due it can receive their second dose. Locally thousands of new first dose appointments have been opened, available now to book via theNational Booking Systemor by calling 119.
Ashton Gate in Bristol is among the first vaccination clinics in the country to offer the Moderna vaccine. From this week it has started to be used as part of the vaccine-mix, alongside AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Some people may have concerns about having the AstraZeneca vaccine following the announcement of a possible link between this vaccine and an extremely rare form of blood clot.
By 31 March, 20.2 million doses of the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca had been given in the UK meaning the overall risk of these blood clots is approximately 4 people in a million who receive the vaccine.
The benefits of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any risks for the vast majority of people and you should still book your Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), our local services will be offering people under 30 who have not yet had their first Covid-19 vaccination, an alternative vaccine.
Anyone who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without suffering this specific form of extremely rare blood clot should have their second dose. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years.
Vaccination information for people with severe mental illness
Public Health England’s mental health team has developed a series of short videos on Covid-19 vaccination to support and encourage people with severe mental illness to get their vaccinations.
They provide useful information for people with severe mental illness to know what to expect from the vaccination process and how to prepare before their appointments.
They also provide information for primary care professionals to better support people with severe mental illness.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine: Personal experience guide for people with severe mental illness, Part 1
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine: Personal experience guide for people with severe mental illness, Part 2
COVID-19 vaccination: A guide for GPs and teams to support people with severe mental illness
Equally Well UK have also produced aguide for people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness to support them with their vaccination.
Think 111 first for urgent medical care
Although numbers of people in our hospitals unwell with Covid-19 are decreasing, local NHS services remain very busy.
If you have an urgent but non-life-threatening medical need, make sure you use NHS 111 first rather than going straight to A&E.
If you do need urgent care, NHS 111 can now book you in to be seen quickly and safely at the best service for your needs.
Contacting NHS 111 first will also help the NHS to keep you safe by maintaining social distancing and making sure you get the right care in the right place, in a timely and safe way. You should still dial 999 if you have a life-threatening illness or injury.
Reopening guide for businesses
As lockdown restrictions are eased through the government’s four-step roadmap, and with some businesses reopening for the first time in months, our economy team has created a guide to help your business stay Covid secure and play its part in the area’s economic recovery.
The guide covers working safely in different types of business environment, the four-step roadmap, looking after your staff and customers, town centre facilities and detailed guidance on outdoor structures and track and trace. The guide also contains information on regulatory matters as well as sources of more general business support and information.
The guide is available on theInnorthsomerset website.
Street café permissions
All street café permissions are set to expire at the end of September, when the current temporary legislation ends. We have been advised this is likely to be extended for another year, but as the legislation does not allow for renewal or extension, we are expecting anyone with permission to have to apply again.
We have done a tour around the area to identify areas that could be used for outside seating, but the majority who could safely accommodate outside furniture have already applied. We always try to accommodate where we can, but there have been a few requests which we have had to turn down because the safety of customers and/or pedestrians passing would be at risk.
We have visited all businesses with permanent street café permissions and discussed how best they can spread out (safely but maybe in a larger area than their permit states) to accommodate social distancing measures.
Permits are only needed for adopted highway areas, so anywhere on private land such as seafronts, shopping centres, or private forecourts, do not require licensing.
Events in step 2
With the latest relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions, some outdoor events can now take place.
An event can take place at step 2 if:
All three of the following conditions are met: a) The event takes place outdoors b) Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day c) It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance, OR
It is a drive-in performance or show.
This could include events such as:
gardening shows and events
car boot sales
animal and pet shows
funfairs and fairgrounds
drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events, for example comedy, dance, music, theatre and air shows. People attending drive-in events should remain in their vehicle for the duration of the performance.
food and drink festivals where the festival resembles an outdoor food market or outdoor hospitality venue, but if people are consuming food and drink at the venue, the table service rule would apply.
Events that are able to take place during step 2 are not subject to a capacity cap on attendees. The government guidance for organised events says these events should have fewer than 4,000 attendees per day.
Organisers of events that are likely to have more than 4,000 attendees should notify us. Events can only take place if the event organisers can assure us that attendees will be dispersed across a sufficiently large geographic area or will be sufficiently distributed throughout the day, so as to mitigate the risk of crowding, including entry and exit points, toilets and food and drink facilities, and on public transport. Event organisers should follow Covid-secure guidance and must adhere to legal requirements.
We recommend when planning for an event during this period that you stay flexible. Include social distancing and testing requirements in your plans, and create a contingency plan to adapt or even cancel your event close to the launch date if needed, depending on government advice.
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
Busy times at recycling centres
Now that 'stay at home' Covid restrictions have been lifted and the weather is brightening up, we are expecting our three recycling centres to be very busy over the coming days.
We are starting to see increased use of our three centres, so to minimise the queues that we’ve experienced so far this month, we encourage everyone to plan their visits in advance and be aware of the additional safety measures we have in place.
Our recycling centres at Portishead, Backwell and Weston-super-Mare are all now operating on their longer summer hours times, so there’s more flexibility to avoid busy times.
This weekend at Backwell we will have extra staff monitoring traffic.
Please use the kerbside collection services as much as possible.
If you go to the recycling centre, try to wait until you have a full load and pack items together to save time on site.
If you do have to queue please turn your engine off. When you get onto the site follow the signs which are there to help you and please be courteous to our staff.
At the moment staff cannot help with unloading.
There's lots of information on our website about what can be put out for the weekly recycling collections and what can be accepted at the recycling centres - visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/bins-recycling and you can visit the Facebook page for North Somerset Council's waste and recycling for the latest updates at www.facebook.com/nsrecyclingandwaste/
In other news…
Childminders, preschools and nurseries have had praise heaped on them by parents who have really appreciated the support they've offered throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
People are being invited to have their say on plans to improve sustainable travel links in Yatton.
Almost 96 per cent of on time applicants in North Somerset have been offered their first choice school for reception classes in September.
North Somerset Council will be formally consulting this week on plans to change the use of two pieces of land from open spaces to sites for a school and housing.