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Coronavirus update from Somerset County Council – 01/02

Posted on 1st February, 2021 in News

All our help and information is now available in a single place on the SCC website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/

This page is refreshed through the day so please check in regularly to keep across developments and news.

Public Health dashboard: Detailed Public Health information dashboards are available on our website www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus just scroll down to ‘Covid-19 dashboard’. These are updated daily.

Top stories today:

First Somerset pharmacy site to offer COVID-19 vaccinations launched

A new COVID-19 vaccination site has now opened at Morrisons, in Yeovil, one of the first pharmacy sites in Somerset to offer the jab. The launch of the new site is part of a national drive to protect the public from the virus and accelerate the roll out of the local vaccination programme.

The pharmacy-led site, managed by Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, will deliver pre-booked vaccination appointments between the hours of 8am and 8pm, seven days a week. The set up includes two marquees within the Morrisons car park on Lysander Road in Yeovil.

People in the highest priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation will be sent a letter by the NHS and invited to book their jab through the national booking service by phone, or online.

People can choose to attend a large vaccination centre or a pharmacy service which is most convenient and accessible to them, or can also choose to wait to be called by their local GP surgery if they prefer.

Across Somerset, there are now 18 vaccination sites including the two large vaccination sites at Taunton Racecourse, the Bath and West Showground, two hospital hubs and 13 GP-led community sites.

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A breath of fresh air is more than a phrase

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, clouds of tiny airborne particles known as aerosols and through direct contact.

As well as social distancing and other measures, you can also reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 if you:

  • avoid coming into contact with people in spaces with limited flow of fresh air such as rooms with windows that are never opened
  • reduce the amount of time you spend indoors with people you do not live with
  • make sure you let plenty of fresh air into your home without getting uncomfortably cold if you have people working in or visiting your house (only where permitted). You should do this during their visit and after they leave

To increase the flow of air you can:

  • open windows as much as possible
  • open doors
  • make sure that any vents (for example at the top of a window) are open and airflow is not blocked
  • leave extractor fans (for example in bathrooms) running for longer than usual with the door closed after someone has used the room

Please don’t drop your guard once vaccinated

Somerset residents who have received their vaccine jabs are being urged to keep following the “stay safe” guidance.

Somerset now has two large vaccination centres in operation, as well as 13 GP-led community sites and two hospital hubs, enabling thousands of vaccinations to be administered.

Trudi Grant, Somerset County Council’s Director of Public Health, said the NHS and partners had worked round the clock to get the centres up and running – but warned the virus risk was still high.

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Transport boost for residents with vaccination slots

Somerset County Council is joining forces with transport providers to help vulnerable residents get to their Covid vaccination appointments.

While many older and more vulnerable people will be able to attend a location close to their home, some will be relying on public transport.
Somerset County Council is working with bus operators and community transport providers to make it as easy as possible for those people to get to appointments by:

  • Working with First West of England to provide a service every 30 minutes from Wells Bus Station via Shepton Mallet terminating at the showground – seven days a week, providing connections to/from other bus services at both Wells Bus Station and Shepton Mallet Cenotaph. This service is also free for bus pass holders and will commence on February 1.
  • Suspending current concessionary bus pass rules so these can be used on all public services before 9.30am. This comes into effect from February 1.
  • Working with Community Transport and Slinky Demand Responsive services across Somerset to allow free travel for bus pass holders when attending vaccination appointments.

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Catch up with Clinton about vaccination safety and scams

In this week’s Somerset Covid catch up video, it’s Somerset’s Director of Public Health Trudi Grant’s mum’s turn for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Former BBC Correspondent Clinton Rogers interviews Trudi around the safety of the vaccine and speaks with Ashley Jones, from the Fraud Protect Unit, to find out how we can all be alert to vaccine scams that are circulating.

You can watch the interviews here: https://youtu.be/ZR9lnNpW-dA

Sadly, criminals are using the coronavirus vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages telling people they are eligible for the vaccine or are phoning people directly pretending to be the from the NHS or their local pharmacy. Information on how to spot a scam – and what to do – is available here: poster-guide-be-alert-to-vaccine-fraud.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Simple steps for safer shopping

Supermarkets have put many measures in place throughout the pandemic but everyone can play their part to minimise the spread of COVID-19 by taking a few simple actions:

  • Arrange a click and collect or delivery
  • Make a list – this will help reduce the amount of time spent in store
  • Shop alone if possible
  • Avoid shopping at busy times.
  • Wear a face covering, unless exempt, at all times. It must cover your nose and mouth
  • Sanitise your trolley or basket before using
  • Sanitise your hands when you enter and leave the store
  • Keep your distance from others

Early waste collections from next week

Coronavirus continues to put pressure on recycling and rubbish collections in Somerset. Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) and contractors are doing everything to keep disruption to a minimum while keeping staff and public safe.

From Monday 1 February, collections will start at 6am rather than 7am to help crews cope with COVID-19 absences and to further protect staff.

SWP continues to take a precautionary approach to limit contact and minimise risk: for example, crews work in tightly-controlled team bubbles and the whole bubble isolates when a member is symptomatic, has a positive test or is in contact with someone who tests positive.

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