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Coronavirus update 31 December 2020

Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

A message from Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council


Hello,

From today, Bath and North East Somerset moved into Tier 3 – Very High Alert. The Government makes its decision to increase restrictions based on several factors, including the rate of infection in an area. The numbers in B&NES have been rising rapidly.

This will be a difficult time for hospitality, which must now remain closed except for takeaway or delivery. No household mixing is allowed indoors and the rule of six will apply to some outdoor spaces.

These and other rules make it a very challenging start to 2021 for us all, but with the new variant strain of Covid-19 it is essential that we all redouble our efforts to follow the rules, to stop spreading the infection and to protect the NHS.

We have, however been given hope with the approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine. From next week, the NHS will start the roll out the largest scale vaccination campaign in the country’s history while also responding to the increasing number of Covid patients requiring care. To help ease this burden, we must play our part by waiting to be contacted by the NHS with instructions of how to receive the vaccine, while continuing to observe the Tier 3 rules, as well as hands, face, space.

Schools are now making arrangements for the rapid testing of staff and children to identify asymptomatic individuals who could spread the virus to others, and parents will be informed about those by their schools. Details of the start of term are in this newsletter. Please check your school’s website for further updates.

This week our Trading Standards team had a complaint from a consumer who received a vaccine text message posing as the NHS. Included in the message was a hyper-link to a fake application form, which asked for personal information and a credit card number. The NHS does not charge for the vaccine and will never ask you for your credit cards details. Please be aware of such scams. For more advice contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service or telephone 08082231133.

As we say goodbye to 2020, please do not break the rules, mix indoors, organise New Year’s Eve parties, or take part in large gatherings with people outside of your household. Avon and Somerset Police Officers will be on patrol tonight and are asking people to be vigilant and call 101 if they see any signs of unlicensed music events taking place within their communities.

Thank you all for your continued efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 as we look forward with hope to 2021.

A message from Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health at Bath & North East Somerset Council


Hello,

It is truly a modern scientific miracle, that less than a year after this ferocious pestilence emerged, marched across the world, claimed the lives of millions and ravaged the livelihoods and wellbeing of billions, we can already see a way through this ordeal.

It is understandable that people have questions about the safety of a new vaccine, and I will try to reassure you on that point.

Both the vaccines now licensed have been through all the usual and necessary steps to ensure they are as safe as any of our other vaccines. The reason this has been able to happen in record time is because under the pressure of the enormous health and social need, two changes have been made to the more usual process.

The first is that companies ran different phases of the testing process at the same time rather than one after the other. And secondly governments underwrote the costs of mass-producing these trial vaccines so that the companies were willing to make millions of doses in advance of them being authorised. This means that we can be confident that these vaccines truly are safe and that no corners have been cut in either development or regulation.

As is common with many drugs and vaccines, there’s extra precaution taken about giving to pregnant women until there has been some experience on a larger scale and so, for now, they will not be given these vaccines.

There are at least three good reasons why we should all want to take up this vaccine.

Firstly, Covid-19 can cause very severe and debilitating symptoms and even in those who don’t have a severe illness it can cause long term fatigue, breathlessness and other symptoms. It is a killer as 60,000 British people and their families have already found to their cost. So, we should all take it to protect ourselves.

Secondly the more people who get ill, the more will need to use the NHS and particularly hospital treatment and we have seen how close to being overwhelmed our hospital beds and staff are. And indeed, if any of us is ill, we need to be off work or self-isolate, and our contacts need to isolate too. We should be vaccinated to protect the NHS.

And thirdly, we should want to be vaccinated to protect our families. We do not know yet whether vaccinating someone means they cannot pass the virus on to others, but that is being studied very actively.

Finally, while I can well understand some nervousness about vaccine safety which I have tried to allay, I would really caution you to avoid some of the wilder misinformation going around on social media. Some of this is just very ill-informed but much of it plain malicious and some of the conspiracy theories being spread are really socially toxic.

Please look for further information at reputable sites and sources, where you will find solid evidence and information on both the benefits and the side effects and the remaining unanswered questions such as the one about vaccine impact on transmission.

Therefore, please support yourselves and your community by not only taking up the Covid-19 vaccine but also encouraging others to do so. This is the fastest, surest way of emerging from the tunnel of 2020 into possible sunlight later this year. Vaccinate to reclaim your freedom.
These are the latest Covid case figures for B&NES – please play your part to drive the number down.

Local restriction tiers

Bath and North East Somerset is in Tier 3 ‒ Very High Alert. Below are some of the key changes from Tier 2.
  • No household mixing indoors, the rule of six will apply to some outdoor spaces (e.g. parks, public gardens)
  • All hospitality must remain closed, except for takeaway or delivery
  • Indoor sport and exercise classes cannot take place
  • You should stay local and reduce the number of journeys you make
  • Do not travel outside your tier 3 area other than for reasons such as work, education, for medical purposes or to fulfil caring responsibilities
  • Plan ahead – avoid busy times and routes on public transport
  • Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble
  • Accommodation must close, with limited exceptions
  • Indoor entertainment venues must close
  • Wedding receptions are not permitted
  • Large events, other than drive-in events, are not permitted
Find out more about the measures that apply in Tier 3 areas.

Schools and colleges update

Schools


Monday 4 January – Primary schools open and secondary schools open for vulnerable children and children of keyworkers.
Monday 11 January – Secondary schools open for vulnerable children, keyworker children and exam groups year 11 and 13 only.
Monday 18 January – Secondary schools open for all pupils.
Special schools open as normal for all students from Monday 4 January.

City of Bath College


Online learning will be in place for all students the week beginning Monday 4 January, with face-to-face support available for vulnerable students. The college will then implement a return to normal timetabling over the weeks beginning 11 and 18 January. Exact return details will be provided to students over the coming days.

Schools and childcare settings


Schools are now making arrangements for the rapid testing of staff and children to identify asymptomatic individuals who could spread the virus to others, and parents will be informed about those by their schools.

Latest Government guidance

Second COVID-19 vaccine authorised by medicines regulator


The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has met the regulator’s strict standards of safety, efficacy and quality.

Check if you're eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant for closed businesses


Businesses that were open as usual and were then required to close due to local Tier 3 restrictions may be eligible for LRSG (Closed).

Information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses


The latest information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Advice on accessing green spaces safely


Advice on using green spaces and protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

Providing home care


Information for those providing personal care to people living in their own home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Getting tested


Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible and how to get tested has been updated. Information on the different types of tests and testing kits is also now available on the government’s website.

Test site opening times in Bath and North East Somerset


If you have Covid-19 symptoms you can access testing locally everyday over the New Year period. People should still book a test via the national portal.
  • Odd Down Park and Ride site open every day 10am– 3pm
  • Carpenter House, Bath Quay, Bath open every day 8am–8pm, except 25th Dec, 28th Dec, and 1st Jan when it will be open 9am–3pm

Latest council updates

Temporary closure of the Roman Baths and Pump Room


The Roman Baths and Pump Room have temporarily closed, in line with Government Tier 3 guidance.

Beware of vaccination scam


Please beware of a coronavirus text message scam that was reported this week.

How to recycle your real Christmas tree


Don’t forget there are several options available to recycle your real Christmas tree this year.

A big thank you from our care homes


Care home residents across Bath and North East Somerset have said a big thank you to the children, church groups, businesses and individuals who helped to brighten their Christmas this year.

Views needed on renewed street drinking restrictions


Please give us your views on plans to renew street drinking restrictions in Bath and Midsomer Norton that were introduced to reduce anti-social behaviour.

Commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day


The son of a man who successfully escaped Nazi persecution will take part in an online event this January to help commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Council meeting calendar


Do you want to know about decisions being taken by the council and have your say? Please follow this link to the council’s calendar of meetings.

Follow us on online


You can follow us on twitterfacebook and instagram; subscribe to us on YouTube, read the latest releases on our newsroom and if you sign up on https://nextdoor.co.uk/ we are there too.

For updates on our services visit our website.

Local train travel information


Passengers must wear a face covering in stations and on all forms of public transport, including rail replacement buses and coaches. Please also carefully check local travel rules.
  • Mon 28 December to Sun 10 January: Installation of scaffolding for roof renovations at Temple Meads means Platforms 3-6 will be closed and services that normally use those will call at other platforms instead. Trains in the Bristol area will run to an amended timetable.
Please remember to check before you travel at nationalrail.co.uk or GWR.com/Bristol

Where to find support

Community Wellbeing Hub


If you are vulnerable and need help getting food, medicine, housing or other essential items, are feeling isolated, or concerned about your physical and mental wellbeing the Community Wellbeing Hub can help.

Call the Community Wellbeing Hub on 0300 247 0050 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please check for Christmas and New Year opening hours.

email BATHNES.thehub@virgincare.co.uk
website: http://communitywellbeinghub.co.uk ​  
 
Text 07870 868368
Following us on Twitter @cwhbanes

Bath & North East Somerset Council, working with 3SG, Virgin Care, and local NHS colleagues, have set up the Hub to give advice and support to those who need it during Covid-19. If you need support to self- isolate please contact us on the number above so as we can support you through this process.

If you can get support from family, friends or the local community, or can order food or medication online, please continue to do so. This means staff operating the phone line can prioritise those who need the most help and get to calls as quickly as possible
 
If you need to contact the council about its services please ring Council Connect on 01225 394041 or email Council_connect@bathnes.gov.uk

Mental health and wellbeing


If you need mental health and wellbeing support go to  Every Mind Matters and there’s also information on these pages:

Bathnes 1BD provides information, activities and support for families and children, including mental health and emotional wellbeing. We also have a similar page for adults needing support or care, on Wellbeing Options.

You can call:
  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust 0300 303 1320
  • Community Wellbeing Hub 0300 247 0050
Bath Mind Breathing Space 01225 983130 breathingspace@bathmind.org.uk

Sight loss support


Sight Support West of England provides emotional and practical support to help people adjust to living with sight loss. Since lockdown this has been either online or over the phone. Now following careful planning, some covid-secure face-to-face support sessions are resuming on an appointment only basis.

Your Community Sight Loss Adviser will be available at Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath on the first Wednesday each month and at Midsomer Norton Town Hall on the 4th Thursday each month. 
 
To find out more, or make an appointment please call  0117 3224885 or email For more information on the full range of services visit www.sightsupportwest.org.uk

For more useful information visit the RNIB website: www.rnib.org.uk/

Local agencies and useful links


We have been working closely with local agencies and if you would like to find out more about their work please look on their website: RUHAvon and Somerset PoliceCuro, and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG.
  • Public Health England updates a daily dashboard: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/  It includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive COVID-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. 
  • Latest information on coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
NHS information on coronavirus: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Visit our Bathnes youtube channel

Tune in


Local radio is a great way of keeping up to date with essential information, if you don’t already you should tune into BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Somerset or BBC Radio Wiltshire.
BBC Radio Bristol BBC Radio Bristol
BBC Radio Somerset BBC Radio Somerset
BBC Radio Wiltshire BBC Radio Wiltshire
Somer Valley FM covers Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and surrounding villages including Farrington, Paulton, Peasedown, Coleford and Stratton.

Broadcast online and on 97.5fm you can contact at studio@somervalleyfm.co.uk or call 01761 411 755
Somer Valley 97.5FM Somer Valley 97.5FM
Bath Radio is a community radio station which has been operating as a hospital radio station for the past 50 years. It now broadcasts to the wider Bath community. Listen online.
www.bathradio.org.uk/ www.bathradio.org.uk/
Radio Bath provides local news and information, promotes the city and supports its businesses, charities and community organisations.
https://radiobath.com https://radiobath.com
Keynsham’s KTCRfm 105.8FM is now broadcasting 24/7.

KTCRfm covers Keynsham, Saltford, Hanham, Bitton, Warmley, Clutton, Timsbury, the Chew Valley and as far south as Temple Cloud. East to the eastern edge of Bath. North across South Gloucestershire to the M4 corridor and west into many parts of Bristol.
KTCRfm 105.8FM KTCRfm 105.8FM

BA1 Radio have been established for a year in Bath and operate from a studio in Southside Youth Hub, broadcasting twelve hours of shows every weekday, focusing on Bath and the local community, including hourly news reports.

website: www.BA1Radio.org

call: 01225 941 080

www.BA1Radio.live www.BA1Radio.live
B&NES Council Twitter
B&NES Council Facebook
B&NES Council Website

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