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Sefton Council welcomes Downing Street COVID briefing praise but urges ongoing caution

Pop-up testing in Formby
Pop-up testing in Formby

Sefton Council has welcomed praise from Jenny Harries, the head of NHS Test and Trace and Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency for the way it is dealing with the COVID variant first identified in India.

During the Downing Street briefing today Ms Harries said, “Sefton for example has done a brilliant job recently with rising cases of this variant.”

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said:

“Jenny’s comments are very welcome and reflect Sefton people’s willingness to work with us by getting vaccinated when they are invited, getting tested including coming forward for the targeted testing for the variant in Formby and sticking with precautions.

“They also reflect all the hard work and dedication by Sefton Council staff and our partners but it doesn’t mean we can relax. As recent events have shown, coronavirus is still with us and we all need to remain vigilant, follow the guidelines and protect ourselves and each other.

“That’s the only way we are going to return to the  levels of normal life that we all want to see.”

Local coronavirus testing was introduced last week in Sefton’s Formby area in response to recent COVID-19 outbreaks, which showed cases of the variant first identified in India. Sefton Council is encouraging everyone aged over 16 who lives, works or studies in Formby to attend one of these dedicated local test sites,  and anyone who has visited any venue in Formby over the last two weeks is also welcome to be tested at these sites.

Drive-through test centres have been set up at Deansgate Lane Park in Formby (L37 3LF) and at Ainsdale Hope on Sandringham Road (PR8 2PJ), and there is a walk-through test centre at Sefton Professional Development Centre (PDC) on Park Road (L37 6EW).

The Deansgate drive-through test centre is 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 is 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, 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.

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.