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Sefton hosting region’s first walk-through COVID-19 Local Testing Sites

People across Sefton will benefit from the opening of Cheshire and Merseyside’s first dedicated walk-through Covid-19 testing sites, in Bootle on Friday (31 July) and in Southport next week.

Walk-through Local Testing Sites improve access to COVID-19 tests for the whole community, especially those who do not have access to a car and those people who should not be using public transport because they have coronavirus symptoms.

Unlike the Mobile Units, which people have already used to take over 7,000 tests at Sefton’s five locations, Local Testing Sites will be open for several months. Each Site will have between four and eight testing bays which can each test up to three people an hour. Users will be asked to self-swab when attending.

To use the walk-through process, people first need to book a test. You can do this online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 or Sefton Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.

Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher, said: “We have been working very closely with colleagues in the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside and the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure that we have the most accessible testing facilities for the people of Sefton, when and where they need them.

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure the first ever Local Testing Site facilities in Cheshire and Merseyside and that people will have even greater access to testing should people feel unwell.

“We have a fairly unique borough, which is both long and narrow, so being able to secure a Local Testing Site for both Southport and Bootle is a really good result. We will continue to work closely to ensure that all of the testing availability is used in the best possible way to help keep Sefton safe as we look to support the recovery of our area and the local economy.”

Regional Testing Director for Cheshire and Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “This additional capacity is great for Sefton and the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside.

“Having two semi-permanent Local Testing Sites  in Sefton means that we will be able to use other testing facilities more flexibly and be able to deploy them in a more targeted way in the future. This will help the Director of Public Health, and other professionals have a greater say in how testing is used and deployed locally.

“Having this extra capacity, more permanently, means that we can respond and react in a much more targeted way with other testing resources, should we see local outbreaks or other urgent needs. Such decisions can now be made in the knowledge that there are testing sites in both Bootle and Southport to rely on day to day.

“We will carefully study the use of these new sites in Sefton as we look to roll out further testing capability across Cheshire and Merseyside in our bid to continue protecting lives and livelihoods.”

People with coronavirus symptoms travelling to the Bootle Local Testing Site should not use public transport. There is on-street pay-and-display parking close to Bootle Town Hall for those people travelling to the Local Testing Site by car.

Mobile coronavirus testing units are scheduled to be at locations across Sefton every day in August.

Find out more with our Guide to the walk-through testing process.

More information on visiting a Local Testing Site is available in this YouTube video