Covid testing is taking place in Southport

Testing for the South African Covid variant has now been widened to two new wards in Southport. 

Door to door Coronavirus testing was initially taking place last week in Norwood Ward, which includes parts of the High Park and Blowick areas,, while a mobile testing unit was set up at the former Kew Park and Ride site on Foul Lane in Kew. 

Testing has now been expanded to include Cambridge Ward, which includes parts of Churchtown; and Dukes Ward, which covers parts of Birkdale and Southport town centre. 

The expansion of testing is taking place after a second case of the South African variant was found which was not linked to the first, found in Norwood Ward – with the earlier positive having been picked up through the regular PCR procedure.

The second case has been picked up through the random sequencing of previous positive tests.

Targeted testing is being extended to cover parts of the Cambridge and Dukes ward areas in Southport.

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “This is not a case of the COVID variant being identified through the dedicated ‘surge’ testing we have started this week.

“It appears to be an unconnected, historic case that has been picked up through somebody developing coronavirus symptoms and booking a PCR test as they should have done at one of the existing test sites.

“Nationally, a percentage of all PCR tests are randomly tested to identify variants of the virus and this is how the second local case was picked up. On being informed of that second case, we were advised to increase the targeted testing area.

“Nationally, a percentage of all PCR tests are randomly tested for variants as well as for the presence of the virus and this is how the second local case was picked up. On being informed of that second case, we were advised to increase the targeted testing area.

“So far I have been pleased to see how positive local residents and businesses in the Norwood area have reacted to the news about the South African variant by willingly participating in this important testing programme. I am confident people in the two new wards identified will work with us to help prevent its spread in the same way.”

Additional Mobile Testing Units will be set up in the new target areas, in which there is a population of around 9,000 residents and approximately 12,000 additional properties, including.

And the delivery and collection of home testing kits will be rolled out across the new areas.

Local people will be informed about the testing and when it will start.

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Once the dedicated testing measures are in place, we will be encouraging everyone aged over 16 within the areas affected to get a test.

“But, like last week we won’t be asking anyone in Sefton, within the target areas or outside them to do anything else any different.

“We all need to continue protecting ourselves and others by sticking to the national lockdown regulations and staying home except for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and going for a coronavirus test if we need one.

“And, maintaining at least 2-metres’ distancing, wearing a mask or face covering while out and about and washing our hands frequently are all essential when we do have to go out.”

Testing in the Norwood Ward, which started on Wednesday, will continue over the weekend.

Do you have any stories for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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