Somerset Covid-19 Update: 5th March 2021
Numbers * Case Numbers are steadily decreasing across Somerset with the number of infections at 45.5 per 100,000. * With schools and colleges re-opening to all pupils and students on Monday, we may see the infection rate increasing again. It remains hugely important to keep transmission in the community as low as possible. * Public Health will concentrate on positive cases to identify them and stop the spread of the virus through dedicated contact tracing. * The R rate for the south west is now 0.6 – 0.8. Somerset is below the SW average and well below the national average. * Street numbers have reduced but now we have a higher rate in Glastonbury. * Numbers are now calculated on the last seven days rather than the last fourteen days. * Sedgemoor has recently seen higher rates than the other Districts with outbreaks in carehomes, workplaces and also more community transmission. There were reports of increasing numbers of people ignoring the Government instructions but that is now reducing. * The number of sad deaths in Somerset with Covid-19 has now reached 750. Although very regrettable this is within the 5 year rolling average (don't forget that seasonal flu has been much reduced this winter). * Hospitals are quieter now, the ambulance service is back to normal and the rate of absence in the health service is now below usual.
Vaccination Programme * Across Somerset approx. 240,000 people have been vaccinated. * The next target is for the over 50’s to be vaccinated by end of April, however that target has changed and brought forward to that cohort being vaccinated by April 15th. This could be challenging because of the potential for the vaccine supply to fluctuate. * The peak of vaccinations that is coming over the next 6-8 weeks (as second doses are administered alongside first doses) should go smoothly and it is expected that the whole adult population will be vaccinated by the end of July. * It was noted that all SCC and District staff working on the vaccination programme would remain in NHS roles until May. This additional work for council staff has an effect on the non-statutory services delivered by District and County Councils. Although we hear little acknowledgement from Government, Council staff are playing a hugely important role, as are all community volunteers. * Evidence is coming forward of both decreasing numbers of infections and of those infecting having milder symptoms, due to vaccinations. * On the virus variants, it was noted that some variants were of ‘no concern’, some were of ‘interest’ and some were of ‘concern’. The variants of concern were seen to be more infectious and with harsher symptoms. Much work is being undertaken to better understand the patterns of the disease.
Future vaccinations programme * The Director of Public Health in Somerset believes it likely that there would be an annual vaccine to help protect from Covid-19, particularly during the winter months when more time is spent indoors. * This might not be a requirement for the whole population and might be undertaken as the flu jabs are administered now, in the autumn.
Book a Jab * If you are now eligible for a jab, you can book a vaccination at the Bath & West or Taunton Racecourse online at https://www.nhs.uk/.../coro.../book-coronavirus-vaccination/ * If you know anyone without access to the internet, then they can phone 119 to book their jab. If anyone who is clinically vulnerable has not yet been booked in for vaccination, they should contact their GP or refer to the website for more information.
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.
Please Stay safe Stay home Keep your distance Cover your face Wash your hands Ventilate all rooms Somerset coronavirus helpline open daily 8am-6pm: 0300 790 6275