A statement issued on behalf of Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health at South Gloucestershire Council: “While it is obviously disappointing that we remain in the Tier 3 Covid alert level, the Government has determined that the risk of Covid infection continues to be Very High in South Gloucestershire. There is considerable pressure still being experienced by our health and social care system and our cases are now rising again in South Gloucestershire and elsewhere in the South West as we see the impact of the second lockdown come to an end.
“We are all looking forward to the time when we can safely ease the restrictions that are causing pressure on our lives and our businesses, but if we ease those rules too quickly, we raise the risk of having to go back into a more restrictive regime again.
“As a Council, we continue to support the work to limit the spread, rolling out enhanced local testing and contact tracing to support the national programme. We are getting in touch with residents who are identified as contacts of positive cases to inform them of the requirement to self-isolate and where necessary, directing them to the financial and other help available. We are working to ensure that local businesses, employers and families receive all of help they can where they are impacted by the restrictions.
“We are prioritising our activities to focus on those areas where we are seeing the highest rates, such as in school age children in several areas, among working age adults and in some of our larger care homes in the district.
“With the news that the Covid vaccines are being given to those most at risk, if we also continue to follow the guidance to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe, we hope we will continue to see new case numbers falling, the pressure on our health and social care systems reduce and we can get to a point where it is safe for the restrictions to be eased.
“It is essential that all of us behave responsibly to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the health of those in our community and reduce the pressure on our NHS.
“Even though the rules about household mixing are temporarily being relaxed over the Christmas period, we are urging people to act responsibly and keep social contact to a minimum.
“If you or anyone in your household or support bubble has any symptoms, you must all stay at home and book a test using the online portal at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you must isolate for 10 days.”