Sefton Council Chief Executive Dwayne Johnson has undergone a Covid-19 test as he urged people across the borough to get tested.
Mr Johnson underwent the test this morning and had a negative result returned within just 30 minutes.
New SMART Covid-19 testing centres are now open at Splash World in Southport and Bootle Leisure Centre, with a third opening at Aintree Racecourse tomorrow (Friday 11 December).
Coronavirus tests are available to people who don’t have symptoms, with results available in just half an hour.
A pilot mass testing programme has proved hugely successful in Liverpool in helping to drive down Covid-19 cases.
The programme, with help from British Army troops, has now been extended to Sefton and other boroughs in the Liverpool City Region.
Dwayne Johnson Tweeted: “Just had my test done so quick and easy so please get tested to protect our communities and most vulnerable.
“Please think about getting tested to protect our most vulnerable and ourselves. We can keep on top of the virus and make sure we don’t go into Tier 3. Splash World and Bootle Leisure Centre are open today for those with no symptoms and Bootle Town Hall and Southport Town Hall for those with symptoms.
“Result back within 30 minutes, not infectious, so big thanks to the military and our Council teams who take over the sites tomorrow.”
This extension of the successful SMART Covid-19 testing that has been taking place in Liverpool will help prevent people who have the virus but not its symptoms, from unknowingly passing it on to family and friends, some of whom may be vulnerable.
Initially, Sefton Council is encouraging those who work in frontline services, those who work with vulnerable residents and schools staff to come forward for testing.
Ten thousand tests will be available each week in Sefton. Focusing on identifying people who are positive will help prevent onward transmission and protect those people for whom the virus could be dangerous or fatal. It will also help contract tracing and identifying potential infection hotspots.
The tests used for the SMART programme are Lateral Flow Tests which provide a result in about 30 minutes. People who have had a positive coronavirus in the past 90 days should not attend.
Military staff have testing sites at:
- Splash World in Southport – now open
Please use the rear car park accessed from the Esplanade, opposite the Lifeboat Station.
Bootle Leisure Centre – now open
- Aintree Racecourse- opening Friday 11th December.
All three centres will be open from 9am to 6pm, seven days a week. Operation of the sites will transfer from the military to the 75 staff the Council has recruited and trained to run them. Once the three sites are up and running, the Council will look at setting up mobile or pop-up sites.
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “The roll-out of this testing will help to identify people who have the COVID-19 virus but not the symptoms and drive down the R-number in Sefton and the City Region.
“Initially, we are focusing the available resources on groups where we have identified testing will have the greatest effect in reducing transmission and protecting vulnerable people and the frontline staff who work with them.
“Plus, the results will feed into the local contract tracing and will help us identify where hotspots of infections might be emerging.
“We have to remember though, a negative result is not a free pass to ignoring the Tier 2 restrictions we are all following. A negative test result means people are not infectious on that day but that can change, which is why we will be repeating tests with our target groups.
“And, of course it’s vital that anybody who does develop the coronavirus symptoms self isolates and calls 119 or visits www.nhs.uk/coronavirus immediately to book a test.”
Anyone who shows a positive result after their SMART Test will then be advised on isolating and making an appointment for a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that will confirm whether they have the virus
Sefton residents who don’t have coronavirus symptoms can also use Liverpool test sites to get a test. Details of how and where people can get a test are at https://liverpool.gov.uk/communities-and-safety/emergency-planning/coronavirus/how-to-get-tested/symptom-free-testing/
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