Taking steps towards a bright, safe future
PEOPLE in the Kingswood area should be able to take the first steps out of lockdown and look forward to a brighter future from this month.
The Covid-19 testing programme at John Cabot Academy in Kingswood has been given the OK by the army. Principal Kate Willis is pictured with Sergeant Sam Curtis and Gunner Alex Clifford. (See below)
Thousands of people have now had the first dose of a vaccine protecting them against coronavirus, all children are due to return to school on March 8 and many businesses can prepare to reopen in the coming weeks.
Following the Prime Minister's announcements on February 22, the intended timetable for ending Covid restrictions is more clear, although it still depends on the number of cases continuing to fall.
In Kingswood, the number of people with the illness has plummeted from the worrying levels early in 2021, although there are still some pockets where cases are well above the South Gloucestershire and national averages.
The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows just six cases in its Kingswood North East area in the week to February 18, equating to 77.1 per 100,000 people. In January the figure was over 1000 per 100,000.
In the new figures, Kingswood South showed a rise on the previous week, with 28 cases - 297.6 per 100,000. The average for South Gloucestershire as a whole is down to 114 per 100,000.
Across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, more than 220,000 people have been vaccinated so far. The 4PCN network, which includes Orchard Medical Centre in Kingswood as well as practices in Downend, Emersons Green and Pucklechurch, has already topped 10,000 jabs.
Schools are busy preparing for the return of all children to classrooms. Secondary schools have already set up testing for staff and for those children who have been attending school. They are now working out how to administer tests for everyone.
Army gives testing its seal of approval
COVID testing at John Cabot Academy has been given the seal of approval by the army.
Sergeant Sam Curtis and Gunner Alex Clifford, from the 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, visited the school to observe Covid tests being carried out on staff and children.
Currently school staff are being tested twice a week, alongside those pupils from critical worker families that are still attending school.
The school is using rapid response tests, also known as lateral flow tests, which give results within half an hour so any infected children or staff can be isolated quickly.
The army personnel spent an afternoon observing a testing session in the academy’s main
hall and praised the staff for keeping everyone safe throughout the process.
They contributed some suggestions to improve the layout of the testing room if mass testing is needed for all students once schools reopen.
Ali Hood, who oversees testing at the school, said: “As with most schools, we have had to adapt our day-to-day operations to be able to accommodate the rapid response testing.
“The visit from 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery confirmed that we were carrying out the testing in a safe and compliant way and gave us confidence moving forward.
“We are pleased to be able to do our bit in the fight against Covid-19.”
The army’s Covid-19 Support Force is the UK’s largest peacetime deployment at home.