Public health bosses are urging Bath residents to keep questioning if going out and socialising is safe, necessary and worth the risk.
The renewed call for caution follows a significant increase in Covid-19 cases locally, mirroring what is happening elsewhere, although the rate of 50 cases per 100,000 remains half the national average.
The increase is largely in people aged 18 to 40 as they have frontline jobs, live in more crowded accommodation and go out more.
There have been outbreaks in Bath’s two universities but Dr Bruce Laurence, the public health director at Bath and North East Somerset Council, said students are taking their isolation responsibilities very seriously and the risk is being well managed.
There have been few cases in children or the over 50s, and outbreaks in care homes and schools have been controlled.
Dr Laurence said: “Now, having said all that, and emphasising that we are in a relatively good position to keep safe here, total societal risk is increasing and everyone needs to think about their role in preventing transmission, wherever and whoever they are.
“So, I ask you to ask yourself, whenever you are mixing with others or going out: is this necessary, is this safe, and is the benefit worth the risk to me and to others?
“If you avoid seeing more people than you need to, avoid crowded places that you don’t have to visit, and continue to apply good rules of social distancing and protection wherever you go, we will keep case numbers as low as possible and get through this as well as we can.”
Dr Laurence shared these 15 ways the council is working to control the spread of coronavirus.
He said it:
- Works with Public Health England, health colleagues and individual settings to identify cases and clusters and put practical measures in place.
- Works very closely with the universities, who have got good measures in place to look after their student and to reassure wider community
- Is training people to be able to contact trace to support PHE
- Through the Compassionate Communities Hub is gearing up to manage any increase in demand over winter
- Is supporting care providers and closely monitoring all our care homes particularly around PPE and advice
- Is working with schools, providing public health advice and guidance when cases arise
- Successfully contained one spike of 20 to 30 cases a few weeks ago in the Midsomer Norton area which was traced to a pub and a social group and was successfully contained
- Through its environmental health officers regularly tours of the city and town centres to monitor and intervene where necessary
- From the very start of the pandemic the public health team have manned an inbox to take and respond immediately to questions from the public, businesses and any other institutions and so far has given almost 1,500 detailed answers
- Is vetting any events planned in Bath and North East Somerset
- Has worked with partners to secure mobile testing units and the new walk-through local testing site in Bath
- Is closely monitoring business continuity arrangements to make sure services can cope with combined winter and Covid pressures.
- Is consistently sharing national and local public health messages across its communications platforms
- Has worked with business to open the city and towns safely
- Has put in measures in the city centre and high streets to help social distancing
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter