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Liverpool City Region and Cheshire Leaders Call for Urgent Deployment of Testing Capacity

Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher today joined The Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and the Leaders of four Cheshire Local Authorities in calling on the Government to urgently deploy more Covid-19 testing capacity in the region.

Merseyside was last week identified by the Government as an ‘area of concern’, with Covid-19 cases rising across the region.

An immediate increase in testing capacity is now urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable members of the community and avoid further local lockdowns, say the Leaders and Mayor.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region said: “Today we have come together to speak with one voice and urge the Government to immediately deploy additional testing capacity in our region.

“The North West currently has 24% of England’s Covid-19 cases but only around 15% of the national testing capacity.

“This cannot be right and is hampering our effort to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and avoid further, more drastic and damaging lockdown measures.

“My colleagues and I are fully committed to working in partnership with national government, but we need the right support and resource to help us at a regional level.

“We hope for an immediate, positive response from Government, which is fundamental to us getting the virus under control in our region.”

In addition to Sefton’s Cllr Maher other Liverpool City Region leaders, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Sam Corcoran, Leader, Cheshire East Council; Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader, Halton Borough Council and Cllr Russ Bowden, Leader, Warrington Borough Council.

 

Sefton’s Public Health Director stresses coronavirus test are only for people with symptoms

With a recent survey of the country’s coronavirus testing sites showing a quarter of people turning up for tests did not have symptoms, Sefton’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones has reminded residents they should only book a test of they have symptoms.

Mrs Jones said: “Testing is a crucial tool in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 but with the capacity of labs to process tests currently facing an enormous challenge, people should not book a test unless they have symptoms or have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or a public health professional.

“People who do have any of the coronavirus symptoms, which are a high temperature, a persistent new cough or a loss of taste or smell must isolate immediately for 10 days and must stay isolated even if they are waiting test appointment at a nearby location to become available.

“The rest of their household should self-isolate with them while they wait for the results but if they don’t have symptoms, they shouldn’t get a test.

“I know it is frustrating but it is the same for all of us and it’s the best way of making sure we don’t pass on the virus to potentially vulnerable friends and loved ones for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.”

Social distancing, using face masks and coverings where required and when social distancing is not possible and frequent and thorough handwashing are also vital tools in helping prevent the spread of the virus added Mrs Jones.

She continued: “Additionally, anyone identified as a contact of a positive case through Test and Trace must isolate for the full 14 days even if for some reason they get a negative test during that period. But once again, those people should only book a test if they develop a high temperature, a new continuous cough or they lose their sense of taste or smell.”

Sefton staff abused after reminding residents of rubbish responsibilities

Inconsiderate residents in the Smollet Street area of Bootle have dumped piles of rubbish in back alleyways, just hours before officers from Sefton Council were verbally abused for raising the issue of rubbish responsibilities.

Both the local authority’s Cleansing and Environmental Enforcement Officers, as well as colleagues from Neighbourhoods, attended a rear gated alleyway in Smollet Street, Bootle on Monday, September 14 following complaints over alleged flytipping.

Officers attended and removed tonnes of waste from the area, as well as collecting vital evidence to identify those responsible for the dumping of rubbish.

However just a matter of hours later, officers discovered a mattress and television had been dumped in the secure alleyway.

Furthermore when residents in the area were offered advice on their rubbish responsibilities and the laws around flytipping, officers were met in a number of instances with verbal abuse.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “Our officers should not have to suffer any form of abuse while carrying out their work, especially when they are working hard to support those residents with a particular issue.

“Smollet Street and the surrounding area is a flytipping hotspot and this is solely down to a small number of inconsiderate and irresponsible residents who we are fully committed to fining once evidence has been processed.

“Thousands of pounds has been so far spent in the Linacre Ward in clearing excess waste and our Communities teams have repeatedly spoken to residents in the area about their rubbish responsibilities so there can be no excuse.

“This area is secured via key entry gates and the only people who have access to that area are the residents themselves.

“Flytipping carries a £400 fixed penalty notice and failure to pay will land you in court. Sefton Council will not hesitate to issue a fine if we catch people doing it.”

If any residents have any concerns regarding flytipping or wish to report an offence, they should contact us on 0345 140 0845 or report it via our website www.sefton.gov.uk.

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Mobile Testing Unit dates and locations in Sefton for the remainder September

Mobile coronavirus testing units have been scheduled to be at locations across Sefton through September .

If you have the COVID-19 symptoms of a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste or smell  – however mild – you should get a test.

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.

Mobile Testing Unit dates and locations for the remainder September are:

  • Wed 16 – Litherland
  • Thur 17 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Fri 18 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sat 19 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sun 20 – Southport
  • Mon 21 – Litherland
  • Tue 22 – Crosby
  • Wed 23 – Crosby
  • Thur 24 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Fri 25 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sat 26 – Southport
  • Sun 27 – Southport
  • Mon 28 – Crosby
  • Tue 29 – Crosby
  • Wed 30 – Crosby

*One of the Mobile Testing Unit teams is a reserve team,  and may deployed to other Merseyside locations on these days.

Walk-through test centres, opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Southport Town Hall, are open from 8am to 8pm. You need an appointment from www.nhs.uk/coronavirus   or by calling 119 or the Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.

The September dates for Mobile Testing Units , 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 nearly every day in July and August.

 

Remember the rule of six

Sefton Council wants residents, businesses and visitors to remember the Government’s ‘rule of six’.

Introduced from Monday 14 September, the ‘rule of six’ simplifies and strengthens the guidance on social gatherings. It means people must not meet friends and family you do not live with in a group of more than six, whether indoors or outdoors.

Social gatherings of more than six people will be against the law and the police will be able to disperse any such gatherings and fine individuals involved £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200.

Symptoms

Meanwhile health bosses have been reminding residents and businesses across Sefton and the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside that they should only get a Covid-19 test if they have symptoms of the virus.

There has been a huge increase in the number of people seeking a test for coronavirus, partly due to the return of schools. This has put a strain on the laboratories which process the tests.

Critical moment

Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health are also saying this is a critical moment in the fight to halt the spread of the virus in the region and are encouraging all residents to play their part by:

  • washing your hands;
  • avoiding crowds;
  • keeping your distance;
  • using face coverings;
  • staying at home and getting tested if you have symptoms.

On Friday, when it was announced that the Government has identified Merseyside as an ‘area of concern’ owing to rising number of COVID-19 cases, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher called upon people and businesses to continue with social distancing and follow the revised guidelines.

Impressive efforts

He praised the ‘impressive efforts of local people and businesses which, he said, had been reflected in recent low numbers of cases. However, he went on to warn infections in Sefton are being spread through people’s social networks, whether at home, at work or out and about among people of all ages.

“Those people may be only mildly affected by COVID-19 and some are asymptomatic, but our real concern is how these people can still spread the infection, including to their loved ones at home who may be vulnerable and far more seriously affected,” he warned.

Required measures

Cllr Maher also stressed the need for Sefton’s businesses to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place. These include Test and Trace arrangements for pubs, bars and restaurants, distancing and cleaning procedures and face coverings where required.

He said: “We really appreciate the huge efforts and sacrifices Sefton’s population and business have made to work with us to protect vulnerable people across our communities. Now we need them to continue those efforts and prevent tighter restrictions being re-introduced.”

You can read the Government’s latest guidance to meeting with others safely  and social distancing here

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