Chester Lane Covid testing centre to close as mobile testing increased
Testing facilities at the Chester Lane Covid testing centre in St Helens are to close next week to allow increased mobile testing in the borough with a focus on reaching schools and vulnerable residents in the community.
The existing Chester Lane facility, which currently provides lateral flow testing facilities for residents without symptoms of Covid-19, will close from next Monday (October 25th). However the symptom free testing facility at St Mary’s Indoor Market in St Helens town centre will continue to operate as normal offering on site testing facilities.
Testing through the Mobile Testing Units will now be increased across the borough to provide more testing at school sites and to enable testing to be offered in a wider range of settings across St Helens.
Covid infections in local schools in the borough have continued to increase during the last few weeks with figures up to October 17 showing 558 positive cases in schools since early September.
Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) have already been playing a key role in helping to limit the spread of Covid-19 infections in local schools with 23 visits already completed to school sites in the borough since the beginning of term in September. As part of this activity, MTUs supported the testing of students over a two-week period at St Helens College and Carmel College.
The MTUs will also be used to help reach more people in the community with increased testing in areas where cases have increased to help limit the spread of further infections.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage said: “It is clear from the increased number of positive cases we have had in our schools since term resumed that there is a need to further increase the support we can provide to schools through our mobile testing units. The units have already played an important role so far and we now have an opportunity to build that support further.
“With the winter fast approaching it is also important that we do what we can to support more vulnerable residents and we will now be able to and increase the amount of testing available directly in the community.”
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Council, said: “We are keen to ensure that both clinically vulnerable and elderly residents do have the opportunity to test regularly and the increased presence of the Mobile Testing Units in their communities will make testing more accessible.
“It is also important that we step up the excellent work that the MTUs have already been doing to identify Covid-19 cases without symptoms in our schools which would otherwise potentially go undetected. This increased testing flexibility will now give us the opportunity to do that.”
In addition to using the Mobile Testing Units, you can also order test kits at https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or pick test kits up from a local pharmacy https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/