Staffordshire residents with no Covid symptoms urged to get tested after cases hit record high in the county
Residents who need to be out and about in Staffordshire during the lockdown are being urged to have regular Covid-19 tests, even if they don’t have symptoms.
Staffordshire County Council now plans to roll out testing hubs in each of the eight district and borough areas as part of the testing blitz to help tackle soaring Covid cases.
With cases now hitting a record seven-day rate of 500-per-100,000 population, the move aims to tackle the “silent spreaders”, people who carry the virus but have no symptoms.
Dr Johnny McMahon, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said:
“Although people should be staying at home as much as possible, some residents do need to travel for work, to provide care for an elderly relative or simply to get the family food shop – and it is these people in particular that we want to get tested on a regular basis.
“We know that one in three people who have the virus have no symptoms. It is vital that we identify these people if we are going to break the chain of infection and stop the alarming spread of cases, which has more than doubled in Staffordshire since before Christmas.
“My message now to everyone is to only go out if you really have to and if you do need to leave home on a regular basis make sure you book a Covid test. They are easy, quick and free and might just help to protect the life of someone you care for.”
Staffordshire is taking part in the national roll out of the Lateral Flow Tests, which offer results in about 30 minutes. With the new area hubs being established, together with pop up community testing, the county council aims to test thousands of asymptomatic people every day by February.
You can book a test only if you have no symptoms at Welcome to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Test Sites Appointment System (zipporah.co.uk) You are allowed to leave home to take a test.
If there is no availability, you can book a traditional test at one of the national sites at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and choose the option “my council has asked me to book a test”. Anyone with symptoms should only book a national test. Anyone who is self-isolating as a close contact should only book a test if they develop symptoms and this should be through the national system only.
The county council is also identifying areas each week which have seen the biggest increase and everyone in these areas will be asked to get tested.
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire’s Director for Health and Care, said:
“The new more contagious strain of the virus is really pushing up cases across the country and increasing the risk to more people’s lives.
“Staying home, sticking to the rules on hands, face and space and getting tested if you need to be out and about is our best chance of curbing the spread of infection and stopping our hospitals becoming overwhelmed.
“We are now at a critical time in the pandemic. We all must do everything we can to stop the spread of infection as, while the new vaccines bring much hope for future months, we cannot lose focus on the current situation and the continued efforts which must still be made to protect both lives and livelihoods in Staffordshire.”
Details of the national restrictions can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Weekly Update: Director for Health and Care
|Dr. Richard Harling talks about the importance of residents staying at home during the national lockdown, and testing options for those who need to leave home for essential reasons.|
Apply to be a Covid-19 test assistant
Covid-19 test assistants are needed to support the rollout of rapid mass testing in Staffordshire.
There are up to 100 full-time, paid positions in which successful applicants will help residents get a rapid test when needed.