‘Wear a face mask’ - Bristol health leaders in fresh plea over Covid rates

‘The virus is thriving as people gather indoors and the cold weather sets in’

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City health leaders have issued a plea to residents as coronavirus cases ‘thrive’ in the city ahead of a ‘very challenging’ winter.

In a joint statement they have urged residents to follow guidance such as wearing facemasks, making use of free lateral flow tests and taking extra precautions when visiting elderly relatives and friends.

They have also encouraged residents to be ‘kind and empathetic’ to each other as cases soar, adding: “We are all in this together, and must support one another through what is likely to be another tough winter.”

The statement from Bristol Covid-19 local engagement board, health protection advisory group and Bristol city partners said: “Our fight against coronavirus has been long, challenging and exhausting for everyone. We  know that everyone has had to make a sacrifice.

“Now we are seeing lives and livelihoods are being disrupted once again - the virus is thriving as people gather indoors and the cold weather sets in.

“The virus continues to circulate widely in our communities, impacting individuals, families,  businesses and some of our most vulnerable communities and, together, we must take  action.”

The statement added that the city is, thankfully, not in the same place as it was last year due to the successful rollout of the vaccination programme.

In Bristol, 77 per cent of people over 16 have had one dose of a vaccine, and 71 per cent of people over 16 have had both doses of a vaccine.

But this does not mean the virus still can’t be passed on to others – many of the younger  population, frontline workers and those most vulnerable are still at risk of becoming unwell.

The statement added: “Bristol must prepare for what is likely to be a very challenging winter – for us as individuals  and families, but also for our NHS and social care colleagues, our schools, universities and  colleges and our local business.

“Our frontline NHS and health staff are still under considerable pressure, and we ask that you be patient with staff in hospitals, surgeries or  care homes, where pressures are resulting in longer waits – they are doing their best in  tough circumstances. Our businesses and social enterprises are still at risk of closure due to  staff shortages.

“Over the winter, our health and care systems, workers and individuals are  likely to be additionally vulnerable to other cold weather pressures such as flu and winter bugs.

People wearing protective face masks are seen on a bus in Bristol (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)People wearing protective face masks are seen on a bus in Bristol (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
People wearing protective face masks are seen on a bus in Bristol (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

“Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to protect our city. We are kind. We are safe. We are Bristol.”

The latest Government data shows that there were 1,158 cases of Covid-19 confirmed across the Bristol area in the 24 hours leading to Wednesday, October 27. During that time, four people also died after contracting the virus.

To help reduce the spread, the Council are urging residents to:

• Reduce the spread of infection by recovering at home if you are unwell

• If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate at home and book a PCR test

• Make use of the offer of free lateral flow (rapid) testing – uptake in Bristol has been ‘very high’, according to the Council

• Wear a face covering (unless exempt) – in crowded areas like supermarkets and in  shops, on public transport and indoor settings

• Respect one another’s space – mild illness for you could be very serious for someone else

• Meet outdoors where you are able, or if you’re meeting indoors, make sure to open a  window or door to let in blasts of fresh air

• If you are invited for your annual flu jab, or you’re contacted about a COVID-19 booster vaccination, do not delay in booking your appointment

• Take additional precautions and consider the risks of visiting elderly people or family  members in care homes

• Be kind and empathetic towards one another