A significant increase in Covid-19 cases across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire has prompted health leaders to remind local people of the continued need to stay cautious.
Since the lifting of all government-enforced coronavirus restrictions at the end of last month, local case numbers, as well as those at a national level, have started to rise.
Latest figures have revealed that more than 1,100 people in the region are now testing positive for Covid-19 each day.
This is a significant increase on the previous week, when the daily number of local positive test results stood at around 560.
The increase, which has also resulted in more people needing to be admitted to hospital, has led to calls for people not to become complacent, and to remember to wear face coverings and observe social distancing wherever possible.
Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “Covid-19 is still very much with us, and these latest figures show it is still causing misery for hundreds of people in our region, as well as adding significant pressure to our already-stretched health and care services.
“We can all help to reduce the spread of coronavirus by remembering the lessons of the last two years and acting in a way that keeps ourselves and those around us safe.
“That means continuing with mask wearing and social distancing wherever possible, but especially in hospitals and GP practices, staying home and away from others when showing signs of Covid-19 and getting all necessary doses of the coronavirus vaccine.”
Currently, the region’s three large acute hospitals – the Royal United Hospital in Bath, the Great Western Hospital in Swindon or Salisbury District Hospital, are caring for more than 170 people with Covid-19.
While this figure is not yet as high as at other times during the pandemic, it has risen sharply in just the last few weeks, and is one of the reasons why coronavirus safety measures remain in place in all local health settings.
Dr Jon Westbrook, Medical Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are still seeing high numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospital so it’s really important that we continue to do what we can to stop the spread of the virus.
“We want to be clear that all safety measures will remain in place across our hospital, community services and GP practices to keep our staff, patients and visitors safe.
“This means that any patients, visitors or staff must wear a face mask, unless exempt, must ensure they are socially distancing and should practice regular hand washing.
“Our visiting restrictions will also remain in place, meaning a visitor can visit for one hour a day but must book the visit in advance.
“There are of course, some exceptional circumstances to the visiting guidance such as for paediatric patients or patients receiving end of life care.”
The Covid-19 vaccine continues to be available across the region, and it is never too late for people who have yet to come forward for the jab to do so.
People can choose to have the vaccine at an established vaccination centre, such as Bath Racecourse, the Steam Museum in Swindon or Salisbury City Hall, or from one of the many mobile pop-up clinics happening locally.
Details of all local vaccination sites, including those which do not require a pre-booked appointment, can be found online at http://www.nhs.uk.
For more information about the local rollout of the vaccine, visit http://www.bswccg.nhs.uk.