Somerset Covid-19 Update: 16th April 2021
*Current rate of 14.6 per 100,00 across the County, a considerable reduction but that’s partly because schools have been on holiday and so testing and tracing has been reduced. Total of 20,104 known cases in Somerset so far.
* It’s expected that the number of positive cases will increase once schools go back after the Easter holiday. That will lead to increased testing again, more case finding, more breaking of transmission chains.
* The Somerset map has returned to green except for one place but the relatively small numbers there are just in two family transmissions and they are all now isolating.
* The R number for Somerset is still 0.7 – 1.0, that is below the national average and a tiny bit higher than for the south west.
* One only death has been reported in the last period, a sad total of 791 for Somerset, now just below the five year average for this time of year.
* Care homes – only one home has had a recent outbreak, demonstrating success of the vaccination programme.
* Public Health teams are already preparing for next winter. As well as Covid-19, there may be a lot more flu next winter if people mix with others more. Flu and Norovirus have been at very low numbers over the past winter.
* Covid-19 will become part of business as usual for public health, and plans need to be made for how that can be accommodated within the team.
* Holidays – as well as planning for the holiday season, people should be aware that if they contract Covid while on holiday, they may not be able to stay in situ for the whole of the self isolation period, and will need to be able to return home without using public transport.
* Somerset is one of the highest areas in south west for testing, current numbers approx. 70,000 per week. That figure includes Lateral Flow Tests and Pillar 2 PCR community testing. Positive cases are 0.5% of tests, the average in England is 1.3%.
* Somerset Public Health, based at the County Council, now has full responsibility for tracing. The national service can still be called on if needed.
* Variants of concern – the South African variant is now in London, the need to find cases and break the chain of transmission is essential. Huge programme of surge testing underway as reported on the national news.
* Lateral flow testing – any positive test must be followed up by booking a PCR test. If the PCR subsequently shows up as negative, then there is no requirement for self isolation. But the Lateral flow tests are useful in finding people who are positive but asymptomatic.
NHS and Ambulance service
* There is no escalation in the very low numbers of Covid patients in Somerset hospitals, and no additional pressure on the ambulance service.
Vaccination programme update
* Latest figure for Somerset is 396,000 doses delivered, including both first and second doses.
* The Astra Zeneca jab concerns are recognised, the under 30s being offered alternative vaccines.
* The supply of AZ doses at present is lower than previously, more Pfizer available but that cannot be delivered everywhere because of the low storage temperature.
* For anyone failing to get a date for a first jab, that will be because of the supply chain, which has always been variable. Keeping trying!
* A programme of annual vaccination for Covid is already being planned.
Book a Test
If you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, you can book a test online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test Or call 119.
Keep your distance
Cover your face
Wash your hands
Ventilate all rooms
Somerset coronavirus helpline open daily 8am-6pm: 0300 790 6275