Symptom-free testing ramped up in St Helens town centre as coronavirus rates rise

Teams of volunteers will be knocking on doors around St Helens town centre ward to encourage people to take symptom-free tests and get vaccinated.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 6:01 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 6:04 pm

The activity, which begins on Sunday and will run into next week, comes as the ward now has the highest rates of Covid-19 cases in the borough at 256.7 per 100,000.

Coun Anthony Burns, cabinet member for well-being, culture and heritage at St Helens Council, said: “Last week, with the help of staff and volunteers, we were able to visit more than 4,000 households in Wargrave to talk to residents about the importance of symptom-free testing twice a week to help reduce the risk of spread. I’d like to thank everyone involved, including those we spoke to. We had great support from many of the people we spoke to, who were given test kits and given advice about how and where to get a vaccine if they hadn’t already.

"So far our early evidence shows that a number of people in those targeted areas conducted the symptom-free tests and as a result a number of cases that might not have been picked up are now aware and isolating, helping to reduce the risk of wider transmission. In the coming weeks we hope to see the number of cases fall in this area as a result of our action.

People are being urged to get tested and vaccinated

“Now we have seen the number of cases continue to rise rapidly in the borough, with the case rate for St Helens now at 178.9 per 100,000, compared to 86.9 per 100,000 just a week ago. We need to do all we can to stop that figure from rising as fast as it has in the last week. So we will continue to look at areas where the rates are highest like St Helens town centre and focus on working with the community to encourage people to get tested and vaccinated.”

Teams will be out on Sunday during the day and Monday, Wednesday and Thursday early evenings, calling at homes to pass on information about testing.

The council’s licensing team will be working with pubs, restaurants and taxi drivers in the area supporting the message of getting tested and vaccinated.

Ruth du Plessis, director of public health, added: “The vaccination hub at the Totally Wicked Stadium will be hosting drop in days again on Sunday, June 28 and Monday, July 5, where you don’t need an appointment and can get your vaccine from 8am to 7pm with a break at 12:30pm to 1:30pm. If you can’t make those days there are hundreds of appointments available to book every day of the week at the centre. If you have any problems booking an appointment online or on 119, email [email protected] to make yours.

“It’s also vital that those who are waiting for second jabs to check if they can move theirs forward from 12 weeks to eight weeks if you are over 40, as we know that having two jabs really bolsters the body’s defences against serious illness from Covid-19. The vaccination bus will also be in the town centre on Church Street (next to Boots) on Tuesday from 11am to 4pm with both AstraZeneca and Pfizer first and second dose vaccinations available for anyone.”

A mobile testing unit for people with symptoms is available at Clifton Street car park until Wednesday, with no need to book and access by car or on foot.

To find out more about Covid-19 tests visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested