COVID-19 cases at an 'all-time high' in South Gloucestershire, council warns
CORONAVIRUS cases in South Gloucestershire have reached an "all-time high" across our area, the council has warned.
Leaders are urging people to abide by the national restrictions and stay at home as much as possible to ensure that the are does not exit lockdown on December 2 only to be faced with the toughest level of local restrictions after that.
The council issued the warning as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in South Gloucestershire reached more than 300 per 100,000 people.
A total of 871 new cases were confirmed in the area over the seven days to November 5, a rolling case rate of 305.5 per 100,000.
Director of Public Health Sara Blackmore (pictured) said: “What we do now will determine which alert level we are placed in when nationwide restrictions are due to end on 2 December.
“We are seeing the highest infection rate we have seen in our area since the start of the pandemic, meaning there is a higher risk to us all of catching COVID-19.
“Our rate is higher than the all-England average and double the rate in the South West region.
“Hospital cases are rising, with a resulting strain on our local NHS, our adult care services and of course our vulnerable residents and families.
“It is absolutely vital that everyone follows the guidance to keep themselves safe, their friends and families safe, and those most vulnerable to worst effects of the illness safe.
“If we don’t do the right thing now, it is likely that we will face continued strict restrictions on being able to go out and live our lives normally even after the end of the national lockdown period.”
The council wrote to the government, requesting to be placed into the tier 2 or High level of alert before the latest national four-week lockdown was introduced last Thursday, "in response to the rising number of cases across all age groups and the associated increases we were seeing in hospital admissions for Covid-19".
A spokesperson said: "It is clear from our figures now that if we don’t manage to slow the rate of infection, we are likely to move from national restrictions into tier 2 at least and probably tier 3, which is the Very High alert level, after the four weeks end."
Office for National Statistics figures show that during the week to November 5 the area of South Gloucestershire with the most new infections recorded was Frenchay and Great Stoke, which includes the UWE Frenchay campus and had 124.
Yate (four combined ONS neighbourhood areas) had a total of 74 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Staple Hill South and Kingswood North West had 43, and Pucklechurch & Westerleigh, which includes Coalpit Heath, had 37.
There were 33 new cases in Frampton Cotterell, 27 in Mangotsfield, 12 in Chipping Sodbury, 12 in Winterbourne, 28 in Downend, 26 in Emersons Green and 21 in Staple Hill North.
In Thornbury there were 22: the ONS Thornbury South area recorded the lowest number of new infections in the district with just 3 in seven days.
In Alveston, Olveston & Oldbury there were 12, with 20 in Almondsbury, Pilning & Severn Beach, 18 in Charfield, Wickwar & Iron Acton and 22 in Marshfield, Wick and Hawkesbury, which includes Old Sodbury and Dodington.
An ONS map shows areas where case rates are well above the national average in purple
Council leader Toby Savage said: “Nobody wants restrictions to last longer than necessary, but they are what is needed now for us to get the virus under control and reduce the risk to our whole community. And they will only work if everyone does the right thing to keep South Gloucestershire safe.
“This is tough for everyone. We all want to be able to see friends and family again, for our children to be able to participate in their sports and clubs, to support our local economy, protect the NHS and adult social care, and most importantly prevent the spread of infection and save lives.
“We want to be able to look forward to as normal a Christmas as possible and we can make a difference if we all act now.
"Please, follow the rules and help us to keep South Gloucestershire safe.
“And if you need support, we can help. Whether that is by putting you in touch with community groups who can help with shopping and other errands, or whether you need access to financial support if self-isolation means you cannot work or your income is reduced."
People are being urged to call the freephone number 0800 953 7778 for information about the help and support available to residents.
The council is asking residents to 'do their bit' to help keep family, friends and neighbours informed others by stopping the spread of misinformation and sharing its message to:
Stay at home as much as possible.
Only shop for essential items.
Do not mix indoors with anyone from outside your household or support bubble.
Only meet with one other person outdoors and limit the different people you see to prevent the risk of spreading the virus.
Avoid busy places.
Always remember Hands, Face, Space.
If you have covid symptoms (high temperature, loss of taste or smell, a new continuous cough) stay home and book a test. All members of your household also need to isolate.
Check-in on and support high-risk family members where you can.
You can view a video from the council with more information here.
Up to date figures for confirmed cases in ONS neighbourhood areas can be found here.