After the Government’s announcement that it was extending COVID-19 testing for people not showing coronavirus symptoms to 67 Council areas including Sefton, plans are coming together for testing across the borough.
With 10,000 tests expected to be made available to Sefton each week, they will need to be targeted where they will have the most effect.
The focus is likely to be on hospices and hostels where there are vulnerable residents, as well as those frontline Sefton Council workers likely to be exposed to the virus.
Coronavirus testing for people not showing the symptoms of a raised temperature, persistent new cough or loss of taste of smell, were launched in Liverpool with the support of 2,000 army personnel. Residents and people working or attending schools and colleges in the city, including some Sefton residents, are being encouraged to get tested every five days. In the first two weeks, over 150,000 tests were carried out.
Sefton’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones said:
“With significantly fewer tests available to us, we need to devise a plan for using them where they will deliver the greatest benefit using the resources we have available, which hopefully will include military support. This is why we are focusing on places where vulnerable people are living and the staff working with them.
“Targeting the majority of tests available to us on locations where there are people for whom the COVID-19 could prove most dangerous and even fatal, will help to prevent the spread of infections and save lives.”
People receiving a negative result through the testing scheme are being reminded they still need to follow any restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.
Margaret Jones said: “These new tests are a useful development and in Liverpool, are identifying a significant number of people who have coronavirus but not its symptoms and who could otherwise pass it on to loved ones, friends and colleagues unknowingly.
“However, a negative result is certainly not a passport to bypassing the restrictions and rules we’re all following because really it means you’re not infectious on the day you take the test. That can change quite quickly, which is why people in Liverpool have been encouraged to stick to the restrictions and to get re-tested regularly.”
Anyone who receives a positive test result through the scheme must isolate for 10 days.
People who are eligible can apply for a one-off, £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.
Mrs Jones added that anyone who does start showing the coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperature, persistent new cough or loss of taste of smell, should get a test immediately by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Sefton has walk-through Test Centres at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall.
Open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, walkthrough centres provide easy access to Covid-19 tests for people with coronavirus symptoms who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport.
Additionally, Mobile Testing Units are at locations across Sefton nearly every day. Details can be found on https://mysefton.co.uk/