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Coronavirus update from Somerset County Council – 24/07

Posted on 26th July, 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 https://www.somerset.gov.uk/covid-19-dashboard/ These are updated daily.

Top stories today:

Self-isolation rules for fully vaccinated critical workers

The Government has announced that, in exceptional circumstances – where there would otherwise be a major impact on essential services – a limited number of fully vaccinated critical workers may be able to leave self-isolation to go to work.

This will only apply to those who are fully vaccinated (defined as 14 days post-final dose) and will be solely so that they can attend work. It only applies to asymptomatic contacts and not to individuals who have tested positive or who have Covid-19 symptoms.

Critical workers who attend work in these exceptional circumstances will need to take a PCR test as soon as possible followed by daily lateral flow tests before work each day of their self-isolation period. If they test positive or start to show symptoms, they must immediately self-isolate and will no longer be able to be at work.

Critical workplaces that take this approach will follow conditions to minimise any risk of transmission, including following other safeguards, such as ensuring that social distancing is maintained, and face coverings are worn at all times.

The measure will only apply to named individuals from certain organisations. Employers covered by this process will receive a letter from a government department setting out the designated critical workers and telling employers what steps they and those critical workers must follow.

This is a short-term measure before the exemption for fully vaccinated contacts is introduced on 16 August, as part of plans to prevent harm from serious disruption to vital public services.

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What to do when ‘pinged’ by the Covid-19 app

The app alert is advisory but should be taken seriously. It indicates your phone has been close to the phone of a Covid-19 case for long enough for you to be at risk of catching it, so you should isolate.

Any decision to ignore the advisory alert by employers or individuals should only be taken where it is clear that the ‘ping’ has occurred in a situation where there is a high degree of confidence that the source is known and that close contact has not occurred, in or out of work.

An example would be where phones have been placed in lockers, and all ping at the same time, AND all relevant staff are known not to have been in close contact. With cases increasing in the community, it becomes increasingly difficult to be sure why a person has been pinged, so we advise you to err on the side of caution.

If the person who was pinged attends work and subsequently tests positive, contact tracing may lead to even more staff being required by law to isolate. Information about the app and FAQs can be found here: Home · COVID-19 app support (covid19.nhs.uk)

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Minister for Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi MP, has provided more information on the NHS COVID Pass.

At the end of September, the Government plans to make full vaccination a condition of entry to those high-risk settings where large crowds gather and interact, and that proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.

Anyone can access a pass which lets people to demonstrate their Covid status including whether they have received their vaccine, their test results or whether they have natural immunity from Covid-19.

The Minister stressed that deploying the pass is the right thing to do for venues and events where large numbers of people are likely to gather and mix with people from outside their households for prolonged periods.

Organisations are already able to ask visitors for proof of Covid-status, providing they meet existing legal obligations including under equality law.

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Grab a jab this weekend

Walk-in vaccination clinics are available this week across the county for first and second dose AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine. There’s no need to book, you can just come along to any of the sites listed below within the walk-in times. If you had your first dose eight weeks ago, you can get your second.

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Clinton’s Covid catch-up

In this week’s Covid Catch Up, working in collaboration with Somerset County Council and NHS, Clinton discusses the move to Step 4 – in particular Public Health advice and information about healthcare settings.

Watch here: Somerset Covid Catch up – Week 32, 19 July 2021 – YouTube