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Remain ‘Alert’ to keep Somerset’s COVID-19 rates low

Thursday 28th May, 2020

Somerset residents are urged to continue to follow Public Health guidance after new COVID-19 data released shows the infection rate in the County remains low compared to other areas. 

As of 27 May 2020, the Office of National Statistics show there were 672 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Somerset with 147 individuals sadly losing their lives to the disease.

Somerset County Council publishes a weekly dashboard of COVID related health information for Somerset available on its website, www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus.

An important part of managing an epidemic is continuing to track and monitor it very closely and the Public Health team keep a close eye on several factors including the number of cases and the estimated R value (Reproductive value).

The R value tells us whether an epidemic is getting bigger or smaller. If the R value is bigger than one, we can assume every person who is infected with COVID is going on to infect more than one additional person. This means the epidemic will grow. An R value of less than one means the epidemic is getting smaller.

The current national estimate places the R value for the South West as being below one and there is no reason to suggest the value for Somerset is any different.

It is important that the R value is not looked at in isolation as it does not tell us the size of the epidemic, just whether it is getting bigger or smaller.  In Somerset the number of cases remains relatively low compared to other parts of the UK.  At this stage of the epidemic it is very important that Somerset residents continue to follow national guidance and do their bit to reduce the rate of infection.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “At this stage of the epidemic and as we start to take small, measured forward steps it is very important that everyone continues to stick to three key things – 1) continue to practice physical distancing, 2) make sure we all regularly and thoroughly wash our hands and 3) self-isolate immediately if you develop any symptoms of the disease.

“It is extremely important that if any individual develops the symptoms of the disease, which include a fever, new and continuous cough, or a loss of taste or smell, that their whole household also isolates for 14 days following the onset of symptoms.

Although in Somerset we have a low number of cases and the R value suggests the epidemic is decreasing we must continue to remain vigilant and all play our part.”

Somerset County Council’s Public Health team urges everyone to follow national guidance to ensure the pandemic continues to decrease.

For information and resources on staying Healthy Happy and Safe at this time, visit www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19

For more information about Somerset County Council’s response to the coronavirus emergency please visit www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus, where you can also sign up for regular email updates.

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