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A coronavirus update from Margaret Jones, our Director of Public Health

With the national lockdown restrictions now in place, plans for people without coronavirus symptoms to be able to get tests progressing and positive news about a vaccine, we thought it was time to catch up with Sefton Director of Public Health Margaret Jones again.

We asked her about what we should and shouldn’t do under the national restrictions, what will happen after they come to an end on 2nd December and her advice for those of us considered clinically vulnerable.

Margaret also gave us an update on the planned new testing programme and the need to get a test if we have coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperature a persistent new cough or a loss of taste or smell.

She told us about the vaccine and the importance of us all taking it when it is available.

Here’s what Margaret had to say.

Find out about the latest restrictions.

Information on where to get a coronavirus test in Sefton.

Vaccine breakthrough presents hope but it’s important to stick to restrictions and get tested says Sefton’s health chief.

Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones, has welcomed this week’s positive announcement about a coronavirus vaccine. But she has reminded people that if it is going to be effective, the vast majority of people need to take it.

Freedoms and friendships

Mrs Jones said: “For the vaccine to work and help pave the way back to a level of greater normality in the future, as many of us as possible need to get the vaccination as soon as it is available to us.

“By getting vaccinated, and I certainly will be, we are not only protecting ourselves but everyone else around us and the freedoms and friendships which we are all missing so much now.

“Although, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the NHS could be ready from December to roll out the new vaccine until we have reached a blanket level of coverage, it is important that for the sake of our families, our friends, our colleagues and our communities that we all stick to whatever guidelines are in place.”

Details of the current restriction can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/nationallockdown.

Transmission

Mrs Jones echoed Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher’s in welcoming the news that up to 10% of people across the Borough are going to be able to take the new Lateral flow tests that have a turnaround time of under an hour, which will help reduce the transmission rate.

However, she went on to say booking a Coronavirus test as soon people show symptoms is still vital.

Symptoms

She continued: “As soon as anyone feels any of the symptoms of coronavirus coming on, whether that’s a high temperature, a new cough or they lose their sense of smell or taste, it’s time to get a test.

“The sooner people do this, the quicker they can find out if they are COVID positive and the more quickly they can start taking measures isolate and protect the people around them who they care about and who may be vulnerable to this dangerous virus.”

Test centres

To make an appointment for a test people can call 119 or visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Sefton has four walk-through test centres for people who are showing coronavirus symptoms, at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. And now, extra Mobile Coronavirus Testing Units are being deployed across the Borough.

Mobile Units are on site at Southport Esplanade Coach Park and in Litherland Sports Park and Aintree Race Course until Friday 20th November, apart from on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, and also at Maghull Town hall on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November.

Details of Sefton’s walk-through and mobile test centres.  

Coronavirus testing for people without symptoms, coming to Sefton

Borough Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has welcomed the news that Sefton is one of the local authorities where mass coronavirus testing for people without symptoms is to be rolled out.

Cllr Maher said: “I am delighted that people across our Borough are going to benefit from the new Lateral flow tests, have a turnaround time of under an hour.

“Although we have been limited with the number of tests and will only be able to test 10% of the population it’s another way of identifying people who have coronavirus before they show symptoms. This will help reduce the number of people they might spread it to and in turn the overall the transmission rate.

“Sefton residents and people who work here who don’t have coronavirus symptoms will be able to go and get a test. They will quickly receive a result, which hopefully confirms they don’t have COVID-19 and are not infectious.

“Those people who don’t have symptoms but who receive a positive test result, meaning they are infectious and could prevent a risk to any of their family, friends and colleagues who may be vulnerable, will then be able to isolate for the required period.

“By taking the tests regularly, people across the Borough will be able to monitor their condition, which will help to reduce infections rates and help pave the way back to some kind of normality in the future.

Lateral flow tests have been available since Friday for people who live or are employed in Liverpool, including Sefton residents who work in the city.

Cllr Maher added: “We have already secured significant walk-through and drive-through testing facilities in Sefton.

“Over the coming days we will learn lessons from Liverpool and decide how we deploy the tests.”

“In the meantime, I would urge anyone who feels any of the symptoms of coronavirus coming on, whether that’s a high temperature, a new cough or they lose their sense of smell or taste, it’s time to get a test straight away.

“The sooner people do this, the quicker they can find out if they are COVID positive and the more quickly they can start taking measures to isolate and protect the people around them.”

To make an appointment for a test people can call 119 or visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Sefton has four walk-through test centres for people who are showing coronavirus symptoms, at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. And now, extra Mobile Coronavirus Testing Units are being deployed across the Borough.

Mobile Units are on site at Southport Esplanade Coach Park and in Litherland Sports Park and Aintree Race Course until Friday 20th November, apart from on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, and also at Maghull Town hall on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November.

Find out more about where and when tests are available in Sefton.

Extra coronavirus testing capacity for Sefton

Extra Mobile Coronavirus Testing Units are being deployed in Sefton. These are for people who are showing coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss of taste or smell.

Mobile Test Units will be on site at Esplanade Coach Park in Southport and in Litherland Sports Park every day for the next two weeks. And on Saturdays 7th and 14th and Sundays 8th and 15th November a Unit will also be at Maghull Town Hall.

In addition, the Council has secured a Mobile Unit site in Ainsdale and there will be a Unit at Aintree from Thursday 12th to Friday 20th November, apart from on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th.

Sefton also has four walk-through Local Testing Centres, at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. They are open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.

People who develop coronavirus symptoms need to book a test straight away by making an appointment at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Also, Sefton residents who work or study in Liverpool can now access a coronavirus test even if they don’t have symptoms.  As a result of the support Sefton Council is providing, local residents who qualify under Liverpool’s new mass testing system, because they work or study in the city, can get tests closer to home. Their results will be available in 24 to 48 hours.

Book one of these COVID-19 tests.

Mobile Testing Units, which are supported by Sefton Council, NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG, have visited locations across the Borough on most days since July.

Mobile Testing Unit sates already planned for November.

National Lockdown latest and FAQs

From today, Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government’s new national lockdown restrictions apply.

This means:

  • People must stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • You should not gather with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Certain businesses and venues must close.

The Government has introduced these new measures to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, while ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.

They apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December.

Read our national lockdown FAQs.

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