The latest UK Covid dashboard figures reveal that 23.6% of people in the city who took a PCR test in the week to December 24 got at least one positive result.
The city beat its previous record of 22% on December 23 2021 and has the 101st highest rate out of 319 areas in England.
Bristol mirrors the trend across the country where on average 22.4% of people who took a PCR test that week tested positive.
England’s figure is the highest rate since May 1 2020 when comparable records began, surpassing the previous peak of 19.5% on December 22.
While the rate was higher before 1 May, Public Health England has said the figures then were not comparable as mass testing for the general public had not been fully rolled out.
It comes amid reports government officials are weighing up a return to the ‘rule of six’ in the new year for social mixing, as cases continue to soar across the country.
Increasing rate in England
The positivity rate in England has climbed rapidly since the start of December, when it was at 9.6%.
The rate is used to measure the true scale of infection, as an overall increase in cases could be caused by more tests being carried out.
An increase in testing would also return a proportionately higher number of negative results if the virus was not running rampant in communities. A high positivity rate indicates widespread infection.
The London borough of Barking and Dagenham has the worst rate in the country at 34.1%.