Covid cases are on the rise in North Somerset, alongside the rest of England, with week on week infection rates roughly doubling. But a breakdown of figures by ward reveals numbers in the villages of Abbots Leigh, Pill and Easton-in-Gordano are notably higher than the rest of the area.
To support the villages in stopping the spread of the infection the council is redeploying its mobile testing unit to help find hidden Covid cases, where people are potentially infectious without symptoms.
The van will visit Pill’s precinct at Heywood Road, tomorrow (Wednesday 23 June) from 8.30am-7.30pm.
Public health, licensing and food safety teams are also working with schools, businesses, and other settings in the area to give extra advice and guidance on how to reduce the risk of Covid transmission.
North Somerset Council’s Executive member for health, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “The infection rates we’re seeing in these villages are unusual and we’d like to work with the community to make sure this trend does not continue.
“We are redirecting our mobile testing van to the area for a day, initially, to hand out tests or for anyone to use who wants help taking a test.
“This will help find those who may not realise they are spreading the infection as they do not have symptoms.”
Ward councillor, Don Davies, added: "I encourage everyone who lives or works in or around Abbots Leigh, Pill and Easton-in-Gordano to keep doing their twice-weekly rapid tests and make sure they self-isolate straightaway if they get a positive test or start to experience any of the symptoms of Covid.
"This local spike shows how important it is not to become complacent and for us to keep doing the right things to protect each other."
Director of Public Health, Matt Lenny, said: “The number of Covid cases can vary by local area based on a range of factors, like common settings where lots of people meet, such as workplaces or hospitality venues, or household spread.
“There is no one factor causing the spread in Pill and surrounding villages so continuing to do what we know helps to protect us from the virus and good access to regular testing are the best ways to stop numbers climbing.
“As we all know, washing your hands, covering your face and keeping your distance from anyone you don’t live with is also really important in reducing your risk of catching and spreading Covid.
“As is getting your vaccination as soon as you can. If you’re 18 or over you can book now, and if you’re over 40 and have had your first dose more than eight weeks ago you can bring your second appointment forward to get maximum protection sooner.”
Coronavirus symptoms are a high temperate, new continuous cough, or change in sense of taste or smell. Anyone with any of the symptoms should self-isolate and book at symptomatic PCR test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
Anyone can catch and spread coronavirus, but higher rates are being seen in those under 30 and others who have not been vaccinated.
This is because of the extra protection offered by the vaccination and the likelihood of younger age groups coming into contact with more people each day.
Anyone over 18 can book their vaccination appointment at nhs.uk/CovidVaccination
An interactive map showing the latest case rate data can be found on the GOV.UK website at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map
For more information about rapid testing, including where to get home testing kits, visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rapidtesting