Residents and businesses in Southport and Formby and across Cheshire and Merseyside are being urged only to get a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms of the virus.
There has been a huge increase in the number of people seeking a test for coronavirus, partly due to the return of schools and the testing of international travellers. This has put a strain on the laboratories which process the tests.
On top of this, the number of people who do not have symptoms, being tested has also increased; meaning that some people who are symptomatic cannot access a test when they need it.
The delivery of testing sites across Cheshire and Merseyside has been successful, with enough facilities to meet the demand. However, the sheer number of people now being tested, who often do not have symptoms, has led to laboratories being temporarily overwhelmed across the country.
This situation has seen booking restrictions placed on some of the testing sites in Sefton while laboratories cope with such high demand.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is in the process of delivering a huge increase in laboratory capacity. But while this work continues people are asked to only seek a test if they have symptoms and only to attend a testing site if they have an appointment.
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “A vast amount of work has gone into delivering the testing infrastructure we need across Sefton. There are, Regional, Local, Satellite and Mobile testing sites available for our residents and workers across Cheshire and Merseyside.
“The increase in people using those sites in the last few weeks has, however, meant that laboratories need even greater capacity to cope with the demand. Many of the people now seeking tests do not have symptoms of Covid-19 and it is those people we are asking to wait a little longer while the capacity in laboratories is developed nationally.
“It is essential for people who do have symptoms or have been asked by Test and Trace or healthcare professional to get a test, to come forward.
“Testing people with symptoms will help us stop the spread of the virus. As we manage this period of high demand, it is especially important that if individuals don’t have symptoms and have not specifically been advised to take a test, to stay away for now. We are asking people to do this as they could be taking a test away from someone who really needs it at this time.”
Key workers, frontline health and care staff and those in an outbreak area, will continue to be tested whether they have symptoms or not. Areas with outbreaks will also not see booking restrictions placed on Mobile Testing Units to enable local management of the situation.
Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms; a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, can book an appointment at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.