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Expansion of COVID variant testing in part of Southport’s Cambridge & Dukes wards progressing

Photo showing dedicated Mobile Testing Unit at former Kew park-and-ride site
The dedicated Mobile Testing Unit at former Kew park-and-ride site

Preparations to expand ‘surge’ testing for the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus in Southport have continued over the weekend.

On Saturday, Sefton Council announced that the testing for the variant would also cover parts of the Cambridge and Dukes wards. Since then the Council has been making arrangements for further, dedicated Mobile Testing Units and the distribution of home testing kits across the affected area.

The Council is urging everyone aged 16 and over in the target areas to take the one-time test and if they test positive, to self-isolate to stop the spread of the virus.

Hastily

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “After being advised a second, historic and unrelated case the South African variant had been found, we have been hastily pulling together plans to introduce testing arrangements for people living and working in the affected areas of the Cambridge and Dukes wards.

“Delivery of home testing kits is starting in the next few days, initially in town centre areas, and a site for a Mobile Testing Unit for people who don’t have coronavirus symptoms, is being finalised.”

Over the weekend, efforts continued in the Norwood ward, where thousands of people have now taken a home test or visited the Mobile Testing Unit at the former Kew park-and-ride site.

Testing guidance

To help you take a swab, the NHS has made step-by step guidance videos:

Sefton Council has been reminding people in the target areas for the South African variant that they need to continue protecting themselves and others by sticking to the national lockdown regulations and staying home.

Essential purposes

Mrs Jones said: “People should only be going out for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and their daily exercise.

“Those in the variant testing areas wanting to get tested at a Mobile Testing Unit may be able to call in during their daily walk.”

“When they are out, people should keep to 2-metres’ distancing, wear a mask or face covering while out and wash their hands frequently.”

At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that the South African variant is any more severe than others. However, questions have been raised about how effective the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is against it.

Vaccines

Responding to these comments, Mrs Jones said: “The vaccines being rolled out in the UK have been shown to work well against dominant variants so I would urge anyone who lives or works in the Borough who is offered a COVID-19 vaccination to take up the opportunity and go along for their jab and benefit from the protection it will provide.”

 

COVID variant testing extended to two more Southport ward areas

Photos showing the Mobile test site in action
The Mobile Test Unit at the former Kew park-and-ride

Sefton Council has confirmed that the testing area to locate the South African COVID-19 variant is being widened beyond Southport’s Norwood ward.

As a result of a second case of the variant that has not been linked to the first’ being picked up through the regular PCR procedure, targeted testing is being extended to cover parts of the Cambridge and Dukes ward areas in Southport. The second case has been picked up through the random sequencing of previous positive tests.

Unconnected

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “This not a case of the COVID variant being identified through the dedicated ‘surge’ testing we have started this week. It appears to be an unconnected, historic case that has been picked up through somebody developing coronavirus symptoms and booking a PCR test as they should have done at one of the existing test sites.

“Nationally, a percentage of all PCR tests are randomly tested to identify variants of the virus and this is how the second local case was picked up. On being informed of that second case, we were advised to increase the targeted testing area.

“Nationally, a percentage of all PCR tests are randomly tested for variants as well as for the presence of the virus and this is how the second local case was picked up. On being informed of that second case, we were advised to increase the targeted testing area.

“So far I have been pleased to see how positive local residents and businesses in the Norwood area have reacted to the news about the South African variant by willingly participating in this important testing programme. I am confident people in the two new wards identified will work with us to help prevent its spread in the same way.”

Additional Mobile Testing Units will be set up in the new target areas, in which there is a population of around 9,000 residents and approximately 12,000 additional properties, including. And the delivery and collection of home testing kits will be rolled out across the new areas.

Local people will be informed about the testing and when it due to start.

Dedicated measures

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Once the dedicated testing measures are in place, we will be encouraging everyone aged over 16 within it the areas affected to get a test.

“But, like last week we won’t be asking anyone in Sefton, within the target areas or outside them to do anything else any different.

“We all need to continue protecting ourselves and others by sticking to the national lockdown regulations and staying home except for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and going for a coronavirus test if we need one.

“And, maintaining at least 2-metres’ distancing, wearing a mask or face covering while out and about and washing our hands frequently are all essential when we do have to go out.”

Testing in the Norwood ward, which started on Wednesday will continue over the weekend.

Extended opening

From Saturday 6th February, the opening hours of the Mobile Test Units set up in Southport’s Norwood ward area extended to 8am to 6.30pm. Located at the former Kew park -and-ride site, the Units were rapidly set up, and opened on Wednesday, as part of national measures to identify and stamp out the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus.

In addition to the Mobile Test Units, a team of up to 50 will be delivering home testing kits to households and businesses in the affected area. Where possible, they will wait while people test themselves. then deliver the swabs to a collection area.

Team members include Council staff, Merseyside Fire and Police officers, and members of Sefton Voluntary Services. All of them will carry clear identification, they will not ask for any money or request anyone’s financial details. Neither will they enter people’s homes.

Testing guidance

To help you take a swab, the NHS has made step-by step guidance videos:

Self-isolate

Sefton Council is reminding people living and working across the Borough that whatever kind of coronavirus test they take, if they get a positive result for the COVID-19 virus, they need to self-isolate. The Council has published 10 useful tips for 10 days of isolation on its website at www.sefton.gov.uk/self-isolation.

Subjects covered include financial support available, planning food and shopping deliveries, medical contacts and advice, caring for others and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. Arrangements for pet care, stopping the spread of the virus at home and pharmacy deliveries are also included.

More about the dedicated testing for the South African variant.

Council’s COVID tests results reminder

Sefton Council is reminding people who live and work in the Borough that whatever kind of coronavirus test they take, if they get a positive result for the COVID-19 virus, they need to self-isolate.

10 Days of Self-Isolation
10-Days of Self Isolation tips

Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, Margaret Jones said: “It’s vital that any of us who get a positive test result for COVID-19 start self-isolating straight away.

“Whether it’s a test as part of the search for the South African variant in Southport’s Norwood area, a test you have booked because you have symptoms or a SMART test because you’re a key worker or have caring responsibilities, if it’s positive you need to self-isolate immediately.

“Self-isolating means not leaving our home for 10 days to help stop us spreading the virus to other people.

Useful tips

“I know that self-isolating can present a real challenge for many of us, which is why we have posted 10 useful tips for 10 days of isolation on our website at www.sefton.gov.uk/self-isolation

“Subjects covered include financial support available, planning food and shopping deliveries, medical contacts and advice, caring for others and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing.

“Arrangements for pet care, stopping the spread of the virus at home and pharmacy deliveries are also included in the self-isolation tips.”

Efforts

Efforts to identify cases of the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus in Southport’s Norwood area will continue over the weekend.

Teams will continue to distribute home testing kits to addresses in the targeted area and, where possible, wait to collect them while people take the tests. And the Mobile Testing Units at the former Kew park-and-ride site will be open from 8am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Testing guidance

To help you take a swab, the NHS has made step-by step guidance videos:

Lockdown

National lockdown regulations remain in place so everyone should be staying at home except for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and going for a coronavirus test if we need one. And if we do go out, we all need to make sure we are maintaining at least 2-metres’ distancing, wearing a mask or face covering while out and about and washing our hands frequently.

Further local information can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19

South African COVID-19 variant testing gets a boost from Fire Service today

Photograph showing a Home Testing Kit being delivered to an addressin the Norwood ward area
A Home Testing Kit being delivered to an address in the Norwood ward area

Efforts to identify cases of the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus in Southport’s Norwood area receive a boost today when 15 Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service officers join the team delivering home testing kits.

After a training session this morning, the fire officers will join the teams distributing home testing kits to residents and businesses within the target area and where possible, waiting for people test themselves and then hand back the sealed packs. The swabs will then be taken to a collection area and sent off to Government laboratories for analysis.

Dedicated

Dwayne Johnson, Sefton Council’s Chief Executive said: “Seeing the new dedicated testing centre open yesterday and the home testing kits starting to be distributed, within just a few days of us finding out the variant had been identified within the Borough, was great.

“Well done all the Council staff and also a huge thank you to our partners who are providing this invaluable support in rolling out this important initiative.”

Assisting

Station Manager Steve Thomas said: “We are really happy to be able to help with the testing today- it’s in our nature to help our community however we can, whatever the situation.

“The Service has been assisting partner organisations in the Local Resilience Forum and the wider community since the very beginning, through delivering prescriptions, helping at food banks and helping at mass testing centres, and this is just the latest way we can help.

“Hopefully our assistance today can help stop the spread of the virus and we can look forward to an end to the pandemic.”

Coming days

Over the coming days, Sefton Council plans to speed up the process to make more tests available in the town’s Norwood ward area.

Opening hours for the Mobile Test Unit at the former Kew Park and Ride site, will be extended to 8am to 8pm. This will help make it easier for people in key roles who live and work in the area who have to go out to work to get a test.

Everyone involved in the process will carry clear identification. They will not ask for any money or financial details and they will never enter people’s homes. They will also be able to provide advice and information.

Testing guidance

To help you take a swab, the NHS has made step-by step guidance videos:

Lockdown regulations

Despite the recent focus on the South African variant, Sefton Council has been reminding people across the Borough of the need to continue following the national lockdown regulations.

This means staying at home except for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and going for a coronavirus test if we need one. And if we do go out, we all need to make sure we are maintaining at least 2-metres’ distancing, wearing a mask or face covering while out and about and washing our hands frequently.

Anyone outside of the part of the Norwood ward area being targeted for the variant developing coronavirus symptoms should book a test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

SMART testing sites, at Southport’s Splash World, Bootle Leisure Centre and Aintree racecourse are open from 8am to 8pm for people with no coronavirus symptoms who are key workers and people with caring commitments during the lockdown. People in these groups should be going regularly for SMART tests, which tell people if they are carrying the COVID-19 virus without knowing in as little as 30 minutes.

Further information, including tips about support during self-isolation, can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19

 

Exciting plans for the future of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre are now underway

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has agreed to fund a significant investment of £3.1m to transform the facility, which on completion will provide a new and improved hospitality offer including enhanced wedding, conference, hotel, dining and bar facilities.  A new residential bunkbarn will also be built, to provide overnight accommodation for groups.

This new investment will also allow Sefton Council to ensure delivery of the new hospitality offer, as it plans set up it a wholly-owned company to manage these operations at the facility. Sefton Council’s Cabinet Meeting of 4th February 2021 is expected to approve the incorporation of a new company that will manage the new food, beverage and accommodation offer being provided.

With the quality of customer service and experience at the foundation of the offer, the company will aim to be the ‘employer of choice’ locally in the sector, offering a fantastic work culture with industry-leading terms and conditions for employees, and training programmes to support career development opportunities in the company and across the hospitality and leisure sectors.  It is intended that the company will in turn attract, develop and retain the best workforce available in the sector, which will strengthen the offer to customers. Furthermore, the operating company will remove the subsidy currently provided to the venue, delivering a surplus to the council over the next ten years and beyond.

Construction works will soon be underway on the £3.1m transformation of the Centre. Situated at the entrance to the beautiful Crosby Coastal Park and adjacent to Anthony Gormley’s Another Place (the ‘iron men’), the facility provides an events venue, food and drink, hotel accommodation, watersports, a gym and fitness studios and, for many years, has been a popular destination for Sefton residents, visitors from the Liverpool City Region and further afield.

Artists impressions, detailed designs will be available soon

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said:

“I am delighted that works can soon begin to take place and we will start to see these exciting new plans develop.”

 “The establishment of a new Council-owned company will allow us to implement a first-class hospitality offer which will put the customer experience at the heart of everything we do, whilst creating positive outcomes for Sefton residents by generating quality employment and training opportunities within the borough.

“I understand that visitors may currently miss being able to take advantage of our bar and café facilities while works are ongoing, but I assure people that it will be worth the wait

“This development means Crosby Lakeside can reach its full potential of being an impressive leisure and hospitality destination in a perfect location.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“The Lakeside Adventure Centre is a fantastic facility, enjoyed by people not just from our region but from all over.

“Sefton Council have some really exciting plans for the site, and we’ve invested £3.1m to ensure that it keeps improving and attracting more and more people. When its transformation is finished, Crosby will have another fantastic leisure and hospitality destination to add to the City Region’s visitor economy.”

In addition to the transformation of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, Sefton Council is also leading on improvements to the surrounding areas, to complement the project and to further fulfil the potential of this spectacular area of Crosby’s coast. Improvements to lighting along cycle and pedestrian paths in the coastal park will also be delivered, along with the restoration of the lake water management system to enable easier on-going maintenance of the Lake.

The construction project and external works are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

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