Somerset’s seven-day infection rate has decreased from last week’s rate of 49.3 and now stands at 38.8 new cases per 100,000 (11th March 2021).
In the latest week, approximately 55,000 tests were carried out across the county and there have been 218 new confirmed cases.
The link below shows the Somerset Dashboard which tracks our local epidemic from the start in March, to the current time:
Workplaces: All businesses in England are now able to sign up to the Government’s free Covid-19 workplace testing programme, including those with fewer than 50 employees (this was previously restricted to 50 or more employees).
Businesses can register to order tests if the business is registered in England and its employees cannot work from home. Businesses must register on or before 31 March 2021 to get the forms they will need to order free lateral flow tests to test employees in the workplace here. Guidance for employers running testing programmes can be found here.
We continue to see outbreaks occurring as people socialise in and around the workplace (where people cannot work from home) and unfortunately, are still seeing a number of outbreaks in the food sector. We are continuing to provide these settings with Public Health advice, support and guidance on prevention measures.
However, it is not just the food sector where transmission is occurring between colleagues. While we may be conscious of the need to socially distance, wear a mask etc when at work in formal settings, it is easy to relax and forget these measures in the company of colleagues in a staff room and inadvertently pass on the virus to them. We have produced a number of graphics showing this scenario that have been shared with businesses and will be re-shared on our social media channels in the coming weeks, to reinforce the importance of keeping up infection control measures even in informal settings such as lunch breaks.
Some common factors being seen across settings that are experiencing outbreaks include people car-sharing. Please help us to spread the message that currently, car sharing is not permitted with anyone from outside your household or support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason such as work. Where it is essential to car share, you can reduce the risk of transmission by:
• sharing the transport with the same people each time
• minimising the group size at any one time
• opening windows for ventilation
• travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
• facing away from each other
• considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
• cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
• asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
For more information on car sharing visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#car-sharing