South Gloucestershire coronavirus rates increasing as Tier 3 review due

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South Gloucestershire now has the highest coronavirus rate in the South West as the Government’s review of the Tier system looms.

The district has been under the toughest possible restrictions since the end of the national lockdown.

But as many pub and restaurant owners are hoping for a move to Tier 2, health chiefs are scrambling to understand why infections are once again increasing.

The local democracy reporting scheme reports the area's rate of Covid-19 was 148 per 100,000 residents, compared with just 83 for the region as a whole.

But it is still below the average for England of 172 per 100,000 population.

Director of public health Sara Blackmore said: "What we've seen in South Gloucestershire is very similar to the pattern across the country as the impact of lockdown has reduced rates of Covid, which is clearly positive.

"We started off by seeing a levelling off of figures and then quite a rapid decline and we are now starting to see an increase in numbers.

"It is clearly of concern that our rates are starting to rise again."

Coronavirus infection rates in the South West (seven days to 9 December)

  • Bath and North East Somerset - 95.2 (91.6 previous week)

  • Bristol - 120 (139.4 previous week)

  • Cornwall & Isles of Scilly - 18.2 (25.7 previous week)

  • Devon - 76.3 (76.9 previous week)

  • Dorset - 44.1 (40.7 previous week)

  • Gloucestershire - 121.3 (96.4 previous week)

  • North Somerset - 122.8 (126.9)

  • Somerset - 98.5 (85.6 previous week)

  • South Gloucestershire - 148 (137.1 previous week)

  • Swindon - 108.5 (120.2 previous week)

  • Wiltshire - 67 (77.8 previous week)

Ms Blackmore said the public health team had made it a priority this week to find out why.

"This includes some enhanced data analysis to really understand what's happening in South Gloucestershire, why are our numbers going up now and looking at those areas we need to be focusing on such as community engagement," she said.

"Some of that work will be focusing on the relaxation of restrictions over Christmas and ensuring everyone has sight of what's happening with our case numbers and ideal behaviours that need to be in place in relation to managing the risk of transmission.”

Landlord of the Beaufort Hunt pub in Chipping Sodbury, Mike Harrington, told ITV News West Country he’s been left “very upset” to have to keep his pub closed after the national lockdown due to Tier 3 restrictions.

has invested in an outside bar to make things safe when people can return.

He told ITV News West Country: “We just want to open. We really want to open, even if it’s Tier 2, just to give us a chance to get back to normality - or a sense of normality.

“It’s been the worst year of my life. I’ve never wanted to work so much in my life and then done so little, it’s been tough.” 

Michelle Baden-Daintree, from Chipping Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, said: “Everyone is still trying to stay positive but we know that it’s difficult so it’s an ongoing battle.

“We are doing everything that we can to support the business.

“Our message is Chipping Sodbury is open, although some of the businesses are closed many are going out of their way to make things safe."

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