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SMART testing for Sefton residents who don’t have coronavirus symptoms to begin this week


SMART testing for Sefton residents who don’t have coronavirus symptoms to begin this week

by Danielle Thompson (December 2020)

TARGETED SMART testing for Sefton residents who don’t have symptoms will begin this week.

This extension of the testing that has been taking place in Liverpool will help prevent people who have the virus but not its symptoms from unknowingly passing it on to family and friends, some of whom may be vulnerable.

Initially, Sefton Council will be encouraging those who work in frontline services, those who work with vulnerable residents and schools staff to come forward for testing. Some 10,000 tests will be available each week in the borough. Focusing on identifying people who are positive will help prevent onward transmission and protect those people for whom the virus could be dangerous or fatal. It will also help contract tracing and identifying potential infection hotspots.

The tests used for the SMART programme are Lateral Flow Tests which provide a result in about 30 minutes. People who have had a positive coronavirus in the past 90 days should not attend.

Military staff are setting up testing sites at Aintree Racecourse, Bootle Leisure Centre and at Splash World in Southport. Southport’s site will open to the public from today (Wednesday, December 9), Bootle’s will open to the public from Thursday, Decmeber 10 and the Aintree Racecourse site will open to the public from Friday,  December 11. All three centres will be open from 9am to 6pm, seven days a week and from Friday, operation of the sites will transfer from the military to the 75 staff the Council has recruited and trained to run them.  Once the three sites are up and running, the council will look at setting up mobile or pop-up sites.

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “The roll-out of this testing will help to identify people who have the COVID-19 virus but not the symptoms and drive down the R-number in Sefton and the City Region.

“Initially, we are focusing the available resources on groups where we have identified testing will have the greatest effect in reducing transmission and protecting vulnerable people and the frontline staff who work with them.

“Plus, the results will feed into the local contract tracing and will help us identify where hotspots of infections might be emerging.

“We have to remember though, a negative result is not a free pass to ignoring the Tier 2 restrictions we are all following. A negative test result means people are not infectious on that day but that can change, which is why we will be repeating tests with our target groups.

“And, of course it’s vital that anybody who does develop the coronavirus symptoms self isolates and calls 119 or visits www.nhs.uk/coronavirus immediately to book a test.”

Anyone who shows a positive result after their SMART Test will then be advised on isolating and making an appointment for a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that will confirm whether they have the virus

Sefton residents who don’t have coronavirus symptoms can also use Liverpool test sites to get a test. Details of how and where people can get a test are at https://liverpool.gov.uk/communities-and-safety/emergency-planning/coronavirus/how-to-get-tested/symptom-free-testing/

Sefton has walk-through Test Centres at Bootle Town Hall, Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. Open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, walkthrough centres provide easy access to Covid-19 tests for people with coronavirus symptoms who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport. Additionally, Mobile Testing Units are at locations across Sefton most days. Details can be found on www.mysefton.co.uk 

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