People in Southport and elsewhere in Sefton are being asked to only book a Covid-19 test if they display symptoms.
The plea by Sefton Director of Public Health Margaret Jones was made as coronavirus cases in the borough rose again, although the rate of infection here is around half that elsewhere in Merseyside.
The boroughs in Merseyside were placed on the Government’s Coronavirus Watch List last Friday (11th September) after being identified as areas of concern.
Ministers are expected to put extra lockdown measures in place this Friday (18th September) as they try and take action to reduce cases.
It is not yet known what new measures could be introduced.
Latest figures in Merseyside, for the seven days to September 13, are below.
The first column shows cases per 100,000 followed by numbers of cases in brackets, with the corresponding figures from the seven days to September 6 in the second column:
Liverpool 106.4 (530), 56.8 (283)
Knowsley 102.7 (155), 51.0 (77)
St Helens 101.3 (183), 50.4 (91)
Wirral 91.7 (297), 66.0 (214)
Sefton 52.5 (145), 37.3 (103)
Cases for other nearby areas include:
South Ribble 48.7 (54), 39.7 (44)
West Lancashire 30.6 (35), 38.5 (44)
With a recent survey of the country’s coronavirus testing sites showing a quarter of people turning up for tests did not have symptoms, Sefton’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones is asking local residents to only book a test if they have symptoms.
She said: “Testing is a crucial tool in helping prevent the spread of Covid-19 but with the capacity of labs to process tests currently facing an enormous challenge, people should not book a test unless they have symptoms or have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or a public health professional.
“People who do have any of the coronavirus symptoms, which are a high temperature, a persistent new cough or a loss of taste or smell must isolate immediately for 10 days and must stay isolated even if they are waiting for a test appointment at a nearby location to become available.
“The rest of their household should self-isolate with them while they wait for the results but if they don’t have symptoms, they shouldn’t get a test.
“I know it is frustrating but it is the same for all of us and it’s the best way of making sure we don’t pass on the virus to potentially vulnerable friends and loved ones for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.”
Social distancing, using face masks and coverings where required and when social distancing is not possible and frequent and thorough handwashing are also vital tools in helping prevent the spread of the virus added Margaret Jones.
She said: “Additionally, anyone identified as a contact of a positive case through Test and Trace must isolate for the full 14 days even if for some reason they get a negative test during that period. But once again, those people should only book a test if they develop a high temperature, a new continuous cough or they lose their sense of taste or smell.”