Residents who need to be out and about in Tamworth during the lockdown are being urged to have regular Covid-19 tests, even if they don’t have symptoms.
Staffordshire County Council now plans to roll out testing hubs in each of the eight district and borough areas as part of the testing blitz to help tackle soaring Covid cases. Tests are available at two sites in Tamworth, Monday to Saturday this week, and results are available within 30 minutes.
With cases now hitting a record seven-day rate of 500 per 100,000 population, the move aims to tackle the ‘silent spreaders’ – people who carry the virus but have no symptoms.
Cllr Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council’s Covid lead, said: “Regular testing of people who feel otherwise well is key to us getting our infection rates back down in Tamworth and helping to reduce the mounting pressure on local health services.
“We know that one in three people who have the virus have no symptoms. It is vital that we identify these people if we are going to break the chain of infection and stop the alarming spread of cases, which has more than doubled in Staffordshire since before Christmas. In Tamworth, latest figures show the infection rate has risen sharply to 455 per 100,000 of the population.
“I’ve heard and read people questioning this method of asymptomatic testing because it can push up the local figures; however those cases still exist in the community whether tested or not AND if they are not found they will continue to be spread. This is simple, the more people who test positive the more people who isolate, the less the virus spreads.”
“Although we should all be staying at home now, apart from essential journeys, some residents do still need to travel for work, to provide care, to take keyworker and vulnerable children to school, or even to do the food shop. It is these people we want to get tested on a regular basis.
“We’re at a critical point in this pandemic and we need to work hard to get on top of it locally. We know the vaccine is due to be rolled out imminently in Tamworth, but it’s going to take several weeks, if not months, before that starts to have any impact on infection rates and hospital admissions, so this asymptomatic testing is key, and I’d urge Tamworth residents to take advantage of it.”
Rapid result Lateral Flow Covid tests will be available in Tamworth throughout next week for people WITHOUT symptoms of the virus.
Sessions are available on the following days and slots MUST be booked online at https://staffordshire.zipporah.co.uk/TrackAndTrace/
Monday 11th Jan Sacred Heart Church 9am to 3pm
Tuesday 12th Jan Wilnecote Parish Hall 9am to 3pm
Wednesday 13th Jan Sacred Heart Church 10am to 4pm
Thursday 14th Jan Sacred Heart Church 10am to 4pm
Friday 15th Jan Wilnecote Parish Hall 10am to 4pm
Saturday 16th Jan Sacred Heart Church 10am to 4pm
If there is no availability at a community testing site, you can book a traditional test at one of the national sites at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and choose the option “my council has asked me to book a test”.
Anyone WITH symptoms must book a national test only. Anyone who is self-isolating as a close contact should only book a test if they develop symptoms and this should be through the national system only.
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire’s Director of Health and Care, said: “The new more contagious strain of the virus is really pushing up cases across the country and increasing the risk to more people’s lives.
“Staying home, sticking to the rules on hands, face and space and getting tested if you need to be out and about is our best chance of curbing the spread of infection and stopping our hospitals becoming overwhelmed.
“We are now at a critical time in the pandemic. We all must do everything we can to stop the spread of infection as, while the new vaccines bring much hope for future months, we cannot lose focus on the current situation and the continued efforts which must still be made to protect both lives and livelihoods in Staffordshire.”
Details of the national restrictions can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Current Covid-19 seven day rates per 100,000 population are:
- Staffordshire: 500.8
- Cannock: 612.3
- East Staffordshire: 596.2
- Lichfield: 475.4
- Newcastle: 371.6
- South Staffordshire: 645.7
- Stafford: 536.1
- Staffordshire Moorlands: 288.5
- Tamworth: 455