Vaccinations begin and testing is stepped up
A MOBILE Covid-19 testing station is operating in Mangotsfield, as vaccinations begin and deaths from the virus in South Gloucestershire pass 200.
Cleve Rugby Football Club’s Hayfields ground in Cossham Street is one of two drive-through sites in the district that opened in mid-November.
Mobile testing units like the one in Mangotsfield are set up on a short-term basis and can be moved at a week’s notice.
Tests are available by appointment only, to people who have symptoms or have been advised to take one, and can be booked by calling 119.
Saliva tests can give a result in less than 30 minutes are being offered to students who are not showing any symptoms of Covid-19 at SGS College in Stoke Gifford, in a pilot scheme expected to lead to wider community testing across the district, with a local contact tracing service also being launched.
It comes as the first coronavirus vaccinations have been given to patients at Southmead Hospital, with GP surgeries in the area expected to start offering jabs to elderly residents from December 14.
The overall number of cases in South Gloucestershire in the week to December 2 was 390, giving the district a case rate of 136.8 per 100,000, compared with the England average of 148.7. That was down from 871 cases four weeks earlier, when the rolling case rate topped 300.
Since the start of the pandemic there have been 6,557 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Gloucestershire, giving the area, which is currently in Tier 3 of the government’s restrictions, a below average case rate of 2,300 per 100,000 - or around one in every 43 people.
But the total number of South Glosresidents who have died with the virus has now reached 214, after 43 deaths were recorded in the six weeks to November 27. Fifteen deaths were recorded in the last of those weeks: five in care homes and ten in hospitals. That followed seven weeks when no deaths involving Covid had been recorded.
The district was awaiting a decision on whether it would remain in Tier 3 as the Voice went to print.
Council and public health officials have urged the public to continue to follow safety guidance when restrictions are relaxed for five days over Christmas.