Omicron Bristol: Two more cases confirmed in city - and several more suspected

Data from the UK Health Security Agency also shows new cases in South Gloucestershire and BANES

<p>Three confirmed cases of Omicron in Bristol, new data has revealed today</p>

Three confirmed cases of Omicron in Bristol, new data has revealed today

Bristol now has three confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, data published by the UK Health Security Agency has revealed tonight (December 10).

The data is the first time the agency has provided the number of cases at a local authority level in a week, and covers the period up to Monday

It comes just days after Bristol City Council revealed the city had its first case of the variant, thought to be more transmissible than the Delta variant.

The data also reveals there are a further nine cases which are suspected, with further testing taking place for the variant.

Elsewhere in the region, South Gloucestershire has three confirmed cases and five suspected, according to the data from the UKHSA.

Bath and North East Somerset has one confirmed case and one suspected, while North Somerset has one suspected case.

Nationally, about one in six positive PCR tests are sent for further testing to determine which variant they are - a process which can take many days.

Another, quicker method is to look for a marker called the S-gene in positive tests, which is missing in variants such as Omicron.

Once identified, swabs without S-gene can be sent for definitive testing for Omicron.

The data on the number of Omicron cases come as latest figures on coronavirus cases in Bristol were also published.

They show there were 336 more Covid cases in Bristol between Thursday and Friday, taking the total number of people as testing positive in the city up to 79,767.

The rate of infection in Bristol now stands at 17,122 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England average of 16,078.

The rise in Omicron cases comes after Bristol City Council confirmed its first case.

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The authority said all close contacts to the person infected were identified by the UKHSA and they were asked to take PCR tests.

The council’s director for public health and communities, Christina Gray, said the message to people to stop the spread of coronavirus remained the same for the Omicron variant of the virus.

She reminded people to remain cautious and follow precautionary actions such as washing hands, covering faces, and increasing access to fresh air and ventilation.

She also surged those feeling unwell to stay at home, and people with Covid symptoms, no matter how mild, to book a PCR test.