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Longer opening hours will make it easier for Sefton’s key workers and carers to get tested

Covid SMART test site in Sefton
Covid SMART test site staff in Sefton

From Wednesday 20th January, Sefton Council is extending the opening hours of its three SMART coronavirus test sites to 8am to 8pm.

SMART coronavirus testing for people with NO symptoms is now focused on key workers and those with caring commitments. The longer opening hours will make it easier for those people to attend the walk-through sites, at Bootle Leisure Centre, Splash World in Southport and Aintree Racecourse.

Highest risk

Aimed to protect those at highest risk, SMART testing will find people who do not have symptoms but are infected by the virus. This will help prevent them unknowingly passing it on which will, in turn, reduce transmission across the local community.

People who should be attending for tests and regular re-tests include taxi drivers and public transport workers, essential retail workers, paid or unpaid carers, delivery drivers, childcare providers, people in the blue light services, pharmacists and postal workers.

Mixing

It is recommended that people who do have to continue mixing with others during lockdown, and do not have symptoms, get a SMART test around twice a week. The Lateral Flow Tests used can provide a result in as little as 30 minutes.

People wanting a test can check on the live Find a Test map to see if the sites are busy and how long you might have to wait.

Anyone whose SMART test result is positive is now required by law to self-isolate for 10 days, in line with national regulations.

A follow-up PCR test to confirm the positive result is no longer required.

NHS guidance on how to self-isolate.

Vital services

Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Ian Maher said: “While it is important that the majority of us follow the Government’s regulations by staying at home, we must also recognise the important work of those people across our Borough who are still going out to work and providing vital services, supporting our local communities and protecting the most vulnerable.

“It is only right then that we do what we can to support those people and making it easier for them to go for a SMART test is just one way of achieving that.”

Opening at 8am will involve some test centre staff arriving an hour earlier, at 7am, so they can be tested before starting work. Part of the preparations meant ensuring those who use public transport could get there on time and that those working until 8pm can get home after they finish.

Stay at home

Cllr Ian Maher added: “While people in these groups are out working in these vital roles, it’s important that the rest of us stay at home, that we don’t mix with others outside our household or bubble, and that we only go out for local exercise and to shop for essentials.

“And this means we won’t need a SMART test unless there are specific circumstances.”

While SMART testing is for people who do not have symptoms, anyone who develops a high temperature, a new continuous cough or who loses their sense of taste or smell, should immediately arrange to get a coronavirus test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.