Localised testing will help identify and isolate new COVID variant cases in Sefton
Local coronavirus testing is being introduced in Sefton’s Formby area in response to recent COVID-19 outbreaks, which showed cases of the variant first identified in India.
Starting from Friday 14th May, mobile, drive-through test centres will be set up at Deansgate Lane Park in Formby (L37 3LF) and at Ainsdale Hope on Sandringham Road (PR8 2PJ), and there will be a walk-through test centre at Sefton Professional Development Centre (PDC) on Park Road (L37 6EW).
The Deansgate drive-through test centre will be open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and the PDC on Park Lane will be open between 9am and 4pm seven days a week.
The test centre at Ainsdale will be open from 9am until 4pm on Friday 14th May, but from Saturday 15th May will be open 9am to 8pm seven days a week.
Appointments are not needed for tests at any of these centres.
There are also pop-up test sites at Formby and Freshfields rail stations.
Open 9am to 4pm until Friday 21 May, between 9am and 4pm, the two sites will be offering PCR tests to people without COVID-19 symptoms as part of efforts to find cases of the virus variant first identified in India. The teams at the pop-ups will also be handing out free home testing kits and will be joined by Community COVID Engagement Officers who can provide vaccination advice.
Sefton’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones said: “Working with Public Health England, in response to a localised outbreak of infections and cases of the variant first identified in India, we have identified sites for test centres in and around Formby.
“We are encouraging everyone aged over 16 who lives, works or studies in Formby to attend one of these dedicated local test sites, once they are open.
“Anyone who has visited any venue in Formby over the last 2 weeks is also welcome to be tested at these test sites.”
She continued: “It’s important that people go to these dedicated test sites and not to our other sites, as these are the ones specifically set up to identify the Indian variant.”
This variant, which has been classified by Public Health England as a ‘variant of concern’, has been linked with coronavirus cases in Sefton’s Formby area.
Mrs Jones added:
“This variant, which was first identified in India, is not thought to affect people more seriously, inhibit the effectiveness of the vaccines, or to be more infectious than the dominant Kent variant. However, identifying cases is important so that infections can be identified, traced and contained before they spread any further will support the return to a more normal life that we all want to see.
“I am confident that our local communities will, as they did in Southport earlier this year, help us by taking part in this local, dedicated testing.”
People across Sefton are being reminded of the need to continue taking every precaution, getting tested and registering the results. And it is important that people go along to get their first and second vaccination jabs when they are offered them. You can now get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re aged 38 and over or if your 38th birthday is between now and 1st July. You can book your appointment online or by phone.
Anyone with the coronavirus symptoms of a new, persistent cough, a fever or loss of taste or smell to self-isolate and book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
And, whether vaccinated or not, it’s still important that people going to work or out and about take rapid tests, which are free and widely available across the Borough, twice a week.
Rapid home test kits can be collected from Bootle Town Hall and Splash World in Southport from 8am-8pm seven days a week. No appointments are needed.
Rapid tests for people without coronavirus symptoms usually provide a result in around 30 minutes. Rapid testing involves taking a throat & nasal swab, dropping the sample into the container supplied and then checking the result after 20 to 30 minutes.
Kits can also be collected between 2.30pm and 8pm, seven days a week, from walk-through Local Test Centres opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. No appointments are needed.
They are available from all Sefton’s pharmacies and they can be ordered online at www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
People can also choose to have assisted testing at one of Sefton’s Rapid test sites, which are also open 8am to 8pm seven days a week and located at Bootle Leisure Centre and at Splash World in Southport.
Anyone without symptoms can visit the asymptomatic test sites at Bootle Town Hall and Splash World in Southport from 8am-8pm seven days a week, no appointments are needed.
Home Testing Kits can also be collected between 2.30pm and 8pm, seven days a week, from walk-through Local Test Centres opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. No appointments are needed.
Sefton Council has a range of schemes, grants, information and advice available to anyone who may be struggling financially due to Covid, or who may need support when Self Isolating. More information is available at www.sefton.gov.uk/COVID-testing.