This week marks the start of half term for the majority of Somerset schools, and with coronavirus case numbers still high across Somerset, Public Health leaders want to remind people that half term does not mean half measures when it comes to safety.
People are encouraged to enjoy half term sensibly and take very simple steps to ensure they do not spread Covid-19 during the half term break.
This includes regular lateral flow testing, including before visiting loved ones, wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, and regular hand washing.
In his press conference last week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid repeated his warning that Covid-19 cases continue to rise as the country enters a challenging winter period. He reminded the public that this pandemic is not over, and whilst the link between hospitalisations and deaths has weakened, it is has not broken.
Professor Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health for Somerset County Council, said: “We want people to relax and enjoy their half term break, but in light of the recent rise in cases, we must remain vigilant.
“We would encourage everyone to follow the safety measures – such as letting fresh air inside, wearing a face covering in crowded areas and testing yourself with a Lateral Flow test regularly. These small things we can all do may appear restrictive, but they really are there to protect you and others and are ever more important right now, whilst our case numbers are so high. By keeping up these important safety measures, it will help to reduce our numbers and ensure we can all continue to have the freedoms to do things we so thoroughly enjoy.
“Finally, when you are invited, step forward for your vaccination – be it the first, second or booster jab. The vaccination remains the best form of defence that we have against the virus.”
Councillor Clare Paul, Cabinet Member for Education and Public Health, said: “With half term upon us and our cases in Somerset rising, it is very clear that Covid-19 is still with us. Whilst we want people to enjoy their break and enjoy Somerset, we are urging them to do so safely. We would encourage everyone to continue their Lateral Flow testing routines and follow Covid safety guidance.
Councillor Paul added: “It is important to remember not to go out and about or visit others if you exhibit any symptoms or feel unwell. Instead, please self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test.”
Parents of children aged 12 to 15 will also receive a letter from the NHS with more information on the vaccination programme. You can choose where your child receives their Covid-19 vaccine, either at school or a local vaccination centre.
12–15 year-olds can pre-book their jab at a local vaccination centre as an alternative to getting the vaccination in a school setting, and this can be booked at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
For more information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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