Marvin Rees update, 8 October

Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping well. So I’m here with another COVID update, how the virus is working its way through Bristol and what we’re doing to keep everyone as safe as possible. So according to information released on Thursday (7 October), Bristol’s rate of infection is now at 187 cases per 100,000 people. That compares to an England rate of 335 cases per 100,000 people. So we are doing considerably better than England rate, which is good news. There was a time when we were consistently above it. That’s still a high background rate, though, 187. There was a time when we were in single figures, and worried about getting to 15 and 20. So we have to have a very sober sense of pride in our performance. There are around 66 people currently in our hospitals with COVID-19 – 335,000, that’s 76 per cent of people of Bristol, have now had one or more doses of vaccine, and that’s very important. It reduces the strength of the relationship between COVID and death and severe illness, reducing the likelihood of people ending up in hospitals. But we still do have people in hospitals, we need to take care of our NHS.

From Monday, 4 October, we are using an improved data source for daily vaccination totals and coverage, in line with the government’s COVID-19 dashboard. So that will give us much more accurate information on the level of our vaccines. As the colder months approach, seasonal illnesses such as colds and flu are circulating, as well as COVID-19. So I do encourage you, if you feel unwell, please protect yourself and others by recovering at home. Mild illness for you could be serious for someone else. So if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, even if they’re mild, please stay at home and book a PCR test as soon as you can.

Vaccinations for COVID-19 are now open every Tuesday at the Bristol Rapid Testing Centre. That’s 17-18 Wellington Road, Bristol, BS2 9DA. The centre will be open for walk-ins between 9am-5pm. without the need for booking an appointment. First or second dose Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccinations will be available and you can have a second dose if your first dose was eight weeks ago. The new service increases the range of walk-in vaccination sites in Bristol – the easiest way for you to get your job. So find out about all your upcoming walk-in sessions on the Healthier Together website.

For those of you that are travelling internationally from 4 October, the current traffic light system was replaced by a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for the rest of the world. If you have had both doses of a vaccine, you will still have to book and pay for a two-day COVID-19 test to be taken after arrival in England. Complete your passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England. The rules are different for people who have not fully vaccinated. You must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test to be taken in the three days before you travel to England; complete your passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England; quarantine at home or in a place you are staying for 10 days when you get back to England; take a COVID-19 test on over for day two, and on or after day eight. Anyone who tests positive should self-isolate and take a PCR test at no additional cost. People should continue to check gov.uk for advice before, during and after travel. So there’s a lot of information there. Visit the gov.uk website to have a look through. In the meantime, please take care.