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Sefton will have region’s first two walk-through COVID-19 test centres, in Bootle & Southport, from Thursday

From Thursday 6 August, people across Sefton Borough can benefit from two, walk-through Local Testing Sites for coronavirus.

The first, located opposite Bootle Town Hall opened last week and the second, at Southport Town Hall, opens on Thursday.

The two sites, which are the first in Merseyside, will improve access to COVID-19 tests for people who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport. Each test Centre has 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.

Unlike the three-day Mobile Units, which people have already used to take over 7,000 tests at Sefton’s five locations, the Local Testing Sites in Bootle and Southport will be open for several months.

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.

In Bootle, the site is in the parking area opposite the Town Hall. In Southport, access to the Town Hall Test Centre is via the Corporation Street entrance.

There is on-street pay-and-display parking nearby for those people travelling to the Local Testing Sites by car.

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

At the launch of the Bootle site, Sefton Council leader, 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.”

As well as  the Local Testing Sites, Mobile Testing Units are scheduled to be at locations across Sefton on most days in August.

Joint plea to public to continue to be sensible and respectful at Sefton’s beauty spots

A number of organisations across Sefton are joining forces to remind people to continue to be sensible and respectful if they choose to spend time outdoors during the warm weather.

The agencies who make up the Sefton Coastal Landscape Partnership include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, HM Coastguard, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and other key partners.

Today (04 August) the partnership launches a campaign covering many of the issues faced on the Sefton coast.

Since restrictions were lifted allowing people to spend more time outside, we have seen a rise in the number of people using local beaches, parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve and many of Sefton’s beautiful beaches.

The advice remains that everyone should maintain social distancing at all times.

People also should check in advance of visiting places like National Parks and beaches to make sure they are prepared for visitors.

We are also asking people to remain respectful and protect our public spaces.

During the recent nice weather, the partnership has received reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

Mark Shaw from Sefton Council’s Green Sefton service said:

“Our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high level of visitors at the moment.

“For those few who do visit our coastline at this time, they are advised that stringent parking restrictions are in place, all rubbish must be taken home and BBQs are strictly prohibited along the entirety of the Sefton coastline.

“At this time, we need people to think about their safety and the safety of others, as well as the wellbeing of our communities and Council staff.”

Sefton Chief Inspector Mike O’Malley from Merseyside Police said:

“We continue to work closely alongside our partners to deal with all issues on Sefton’s beautiful coastlines, and this August – with many choosing to holiday in this country due to travel restrictions – will be no different. We want all visitors to enjoy a safe, relaxing and enjoyable time, and show consideration for those who live in these areas.

“During spells of good weather this year we have had reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

“Anyone acting antisocially should expect to be dealt with by police in a robust manner, and we will also support other agencies in their work.

“I want to reassure those affected by anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and other issues affecting the communities of Sefton that we will again make a co-ordinated effort to prevent such incidents from occurring.

“Throughout August, officers will be on foot, in vehicles and on quad bikes across the Sefton coastline including Formby, Ainsdale and Crosby beaches, as well as parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve.”

PC David Baier from British Transport Police said:

“Everyone wants to enjoy this gorgeous weather and may head to the coast but it’s really important that people continue to social distance and wear compulsory face coverings when using public transport.

“These may be strange times, but the same rules apply regarding anti-social behaviour – we won’t tolerate any abuse of passengers or rail staff and we’ll continue to take a robust approach to anyone who breaks the rules.”

ENDS

Statement: Crosby Beach mass meditation event

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We received reports of an event having taken place at Crosby Beach where up to 500 people had taken part including swimming in the sea, and a ‘mass meditation’ on the beach.

“We can understand that with its beauty and peacefulness, Crosby Beach would be seen as a great venue for a mass meditation. However, while we appreciate both the physical and mental health benefits such an event can bring for attendees, we do have some concerns about this event, and any future ones which may be planned.

Water safety:

Crosby Beach is not a designated bathing water and so the water quality is not monitored by the Environment Agency, which may mean that the water could contain microbes, such as e-coli, which can be harmful to human health.

“Crosby can be a dangerous beach because of the tidal range of the River Mersey (in excess of 10m, the second highest in the UK). This means that tidal cut off, stranding on sandbanks and patches of soft muds and sand are very real hazards and could easily result in danger to life and the need for rescue by emergency services.

“It is because of this that we have specific advice for event organisers at Crosby Beach. This advice, and the beach signage, is very clear – Stay within 50m of the seawall.

“Anyone wishing to hold an event must apply for permission, including a risk assessment so that we are able to help and guide event organisers to operate in a safe way, in a safe place, and protect wildlife on this protected coastline. The council event booking form for the coast can be found at:
https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/smalleventsform

COVID19 pandemic:

“The current Government guidance does not allow us to permit organised events in public places with more than 30 participants, and any event must be COVID secure, taking suitable precautions about social distancing and hygiene practice etc.

“We’re working with the event organisers to address our concerns and ensure anyone attending future events such as this is kept safe, which may mean moving the event to one of the 3 recognised bathing areas along the Sefton Coast.”

Statement: Southport Local Testing Site

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We understand the concerns of local businesses regarding the provision of a local test centre at the One Stop Shop in Southport.

“Local testing centres are part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to improve accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities.

“The provision of sites is approved by the Department of Health and Social Care and their private sector providers are the decision-makers on the suitability of final location and set-up (including entrances and exits) following a site visit. The site will then be run by a private sector operator.

“The site will be prepared on Tuesday (4th August) and open on Wednesday (5th August) with more appointments available each day. Testing is available for everyone, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

“It is important that the site is easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre). Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely.

“We would assure neighbouring businesses that attendance at the test site is by appointment only and therefore there should be no queuing within Cambridge Arcade. Queue management is part of the site operators’ responsibility and whilst the appointment system should ensure there is no queue, we will monitor this.”

Ends

Sefton to host mobile coronavirus test sites through August

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

Over 7,000 tests to tell people whether they have the Covid-19 virus have already been carried out at drive-through sites in Bootle, Crosby, Litherland, Maghull and Southport.

Confirmation of August dates for the sites, which are supported by Sefton Council, NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG, follows on from a timetable that saw units deployed across Sefton Borough every day in July.

Tests at mobile centres are available for anyone but they need to have made an appointment first at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or by calling 119.

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “I am proud that in April Sefton hosted Cheshire and Merseyside’s very first mobile coronavirus testing site, in Southport, and that since then we have established five regular venues where over 7,000 tests have been administered.

“Drive-through tests for people to find out whether they had the COVID-19 virus were available somewhere in Sefton every day in July and are scheduled to take place throughout August as well.

“Coronavirus is still very much with us and to prevent its spread and the need to reintroduce restrictions, it’s important that anyone who has the coronavirus symptoms of a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in their normal sense of taste or smell visits www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or calls 119 to book a test.”

Essential workers can book through www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers and key NHS employees can attend regional testing sites at Liverpool John Lennon Airport as well as Haydock and Manchester Airport without the need for an appointment.

Fiona Taylor, Chief Officer at NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby CCGs said: “Although coronavirus often has more serious consequences for older people and those with existing health conditions, please remember that people of any age can catch and pass on the virus to friends and loved ones without knowing it. It can take several days for symptoms to appear, so that is why it is so important to wear a face covering, keep washing your hands and maintain social distancing to reduce the risk of spreading this serious illness throughout your community.

“As soon as you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, you, and anyone you live with should self-isolate, and you should arrange a test as soon as possible. The Government’s NHS Test and Trace service will call you in a day or two with your results and explain what needs to happen next. We also strongly urge anyone who has been contacted through Test and Trace to respond and share information about their recent interactions.”

Cllr Maher added: “Recently, the Government handed councils the powers to impose local restrictions in the event of a spike in coronavirus cases but we see the use of those powers in Sefton very much as a last resort.

“If people of all ages across the Borough act responsibility, follow the guidelines on handwashing, distancing and face coverings and respond quickly if they suspect they have symptoms of the virus or are contacted by the Test and Trace service, there should be no need for restrictions to be reintroduced.”

There will be testing units at Litherland and Southport on Thursday 30 and Fri 31 July.

August Mobile Testing Unit sites confirmed so far in August are:

01/08            Southport
02/08            Southport
03/08            Southport
04/08            Crosby
05/08            Crosby
06/08            Crosby
07/08            Litherland
08/08            Litherland
09/08            Litherland
10/08            Bootle
11/08            Bootle

Because on of the Mobile Testing Unit teams is a reserve team, it may be deployed to other Merseyside locations on certain days if required.

People across Sefton will also 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.

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