The leader of Tamworth Borough Council has joined with leaders across Staffordshire in an appeal to those who can’t work from home to book a regular Covid test – as part of the rollout of mass testing of people without symptoms.
With new Community Testing Centres open across the county, council leaders are calling for workers in all places allowed to stay open, to make testing part of their regular routine in efforts to identify more people who may unknowingly be carrying the virus.
The appeal is being backed by Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, George Adamson, Leader of Cannock Chase District Council, Duncan Goodfellow, Leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, Doug Pullen, Leader of Lichfield District Council, Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle Borough Council, Brian Edwards, Leader of South Staffordshire District Council, Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Daniel Cook, Leader of Tamworth Borough Council.
Cllr Cook said: “The community asymptomatic testing is our key to getting local infection rates under control enough so that we can take the pressure off hospitals and minimise transmission, while we wait for the vaccine programme to roll out. Already an amazing effort has been made in that respect and doses are being administered at an incredible rate, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
“There’s been a fantastic response to community testing in Tamworth with a high take-up of lateral flow tests at the sessions that have been arranged so far. By keeping up this effort and going the extra mile, we can continue to reduce the spread and protect each other from this terrible virus. Thank you to everyone who is doing their bit for the town during this crisis.”
Alan White, said: “Councils across Staffordshire have worked together like never before to do everything we can to protect lives and livelihoods across each and every district and borough council.
“While cases have started to fall in lockdown, they still remain worryingly high and we know that, across the country, hospitals are being overwhelmed – with reports nationally that someone is now being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 every 30 seconds.
“There is good news on the horizon with the vaccines, but we cannot become distracted by this as it will be many months before we know and feel the benefits.
“The national lockdown means we must stay at home as much as possible. However, we all recognise that some people simply can’t work from home. That is why we are appealing to everyone who is out working in Staffordshire this week to book a test. It is free, quick and has never been easier to book a test.
“One third of people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms and you could be one of them. So please get tested now, it may just protect your workmates, your community and your family when you return home at the end of the day.”
The current seven day rate for Tamworth to January 16 is 469.4 per 100,000, compared to a Staffordshire rate of 425.1 and an England rate of 478.
The county council has now opened Community Testing Centres in all districts and boroughs. In Tamworth this is based at Tamworth College, with appointments available between 10 to 4pm, Monday to Friday and at Wilnecote Parish Hall on Saturdays and Sundays.
The council’s fleet of Covid vans will also be setting up mobile Community Testing Pop-Ups across the county. You can find out more and book now at Welcome to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Test Sites Appointment System (zipporah.co.uk)
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire’s Director of Health and Care, said: ‘We all need to stick to the basic rules of hands, face and space, work from home where we can and get tested if you are working though lockdown.
“We are seeing the biggest increases in the 19 to 34 year old bracket, with many in this age group not only likely to be working but also seeing more people, so we would appeal to working people of this age group in particular to get tested on a regular basis.”