North Somerset Covid rates 'highest ever', says council
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North Somerset is seeing its 'highest ever case rates' of Covid-19, amid the surge of the Omicron variant, district officials say.
For the week ending January 1 - the latest full data available - the case rate in North Somerset was 1,280.8 per 100,000 head of population, compared to a rate of 492.2 reported on December 11, 2021.
The rate across the South West is 1243.7, and in England, 1709.1, so North Somerset remains below the national average.
In the week ending January 1, the number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases was 2,761 - up from 1,840 the previous week, and 1,061 in December.
"Along with the rest of England we are seeing our highest ever case rates in North Somerset," a North Somerset Council spokesperson said.
"This means the virus is circulating in our community and you are at risk of catching it when you are out and about.
"As always, you can help reduce your risk by continuing to wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering when you’re in crowded spaces, and socially distance from anyone you don’t live with if you can.
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"If you’re meeting up with people inside, take rapid lateral flow tests before you go, and open up doors and windows to keep air circulating."
They urged people to get a jab, be it their first vaccine dose, or a booster, in a bid to prevent serious illness.
"It doesn’t matter if it’s your first jab, or booster, getting it done as quickly as you can will reduce your risk of getting seriously ill if you do come into contact with the virus," they said.
"If you do have symptoms, a temperature, new continuous cough, or change to your sense of taste or smell, stay home and get a PCR test. Rapid tests, where you process the results yourself, must only be used if don’t have symptoms."
However, despite the efforts of vaccination centres, rates were expected to rise, the spokesperson added.
On December 28, 2021, the number of Covid-19 patients reported by the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust - which includes Weston General Hospital - was 55.
Around that date, the Trust declared an 'internal critical incident' to tackle the rise in numbers.
"We are expecting case rates to continue to rise, so we will be seeing extremely high numbers here in North Somerset in the coming weeks," the spokesperson said.
"This means it’s more important than ever to do everything you can to reduce your chance of catching the disease and get vaccinated to reduce the chance of getting really poorly if you do.
"This helps you and will also help limit pressure on the NHS and social care."
Meanwhile, 87.7 per cent of North Somerset residents aged 12 or over have now had one dose of the vaccine, and 82.4 per cent have had two doses.
A total of 68 per cent have also had a booster or third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.