Additional COVID-19 testing and enhanced contact tracing are starting in Calderdale as preventative measures to help contain the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 cases are gradually increasing in Calderdale, and across all parts of the borough we have detected an increase in cases of the Delta variant (first identified in India) in the last week. The number of Delta cases is still low but there are indications that rates are rising.
Additional testing and enhanced contact tracing are being introduced in the area to identify positive cases, including their contacts, enabling and supporting individuals to isolate so we can break chains of transmission and stop new variants from spreading further. The areas affected are:
- Park ward
- Todmorden ward
- Warley ward
To address this, extra COVID-19 testing will be carried out in these areas for all residents or those who work in these areas, irrespective of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not. Results of all positive cases will be analysed to determine whether cases are a new variant of concern.
The Council is urging people to be vigilant, take extra care and follow the public health advice as they go about their day-to-day business. Everyone in Calderdale is encouraged to keep doing the five big things to help protect themselves and others from COVID-19:
- Keep our distance and limit mixing with people we don’t live with.
- Wear a face covering where necessary, unless medically exempt.
- Self-isolate if we test positive or are a contact of someone who has tested positive.
- Meet others outside where possible, and if not then let the fresh air in.
- Book our vaccine when we are invited by the NHS.
Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space-fresh air and following national guidance, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of new variants of concern.
Calderdale Council and its partner organisations are carrying out enhanced contact tracing for variants of concern across the whole borough, building on the success of their existing local service which supports NHS Test and Trace.
Calderdale’s local contact tracers will identify the contacts of people who have tested positive for a variant of concern, as well as identifying the contacts of the contacts. All contacts, and contacts of contacts, will be asked to do PCR tests regardless of whether they have symptoms.
Positive tests will be sent off to be analysed to identify if they are a variant of concern and help us to better understand how widespread this particular strand of the virus is in the area. If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of their contacts to NHS Test and Trace. Help and support is available to those self-isolating: Help and financial support while you’re self-isolating – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS (www.nhs.uk)(external link).
As part of the local delivery of additional testing, everyone who is asked to take a test will receive information about how to access support in case they have to self-isolate. Local contact tracers are also continuing their engagement with communities to increase take-up of the COVID-19 vaccine where the number of vaccinated people is lower.
Additional testing is taking place as follows:
- In Todmorden, the Mobile Testing Unit at Todmorden Sports Centre will be open as usual for symptomatic testing on Mondays, but it will also be open for an extended period to enable asymptomatic testing from Tuesday 8 to Sunday 13 June.
From Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 June, PCR testing kits will be distributed to students at school for them to take home so their whole household can get tested.
From Monday 14 to Friday 18 June, a Mobile Testing Unit will be travelling around Todmorden and Walsden.
- In Park and Warley, from Tuesday 8 to Friday 18 June, a Mobile Testing Unit will be available in certain workplaces and PCR testing kits will be available to take home so that workers and their whole household can get tested.
From Thursday 10 to Friday 18 June, PCR testing kits will be available in certain schools in the area for students to take home for their whole household.
From Monday 21 June, Mobile Testing Units will be going to a range of trusted community venues, including places of worship. These locations are being chosen through engagement with the local community to determine where is most appropriate and convenient for people to get tested.
Deborah Harkins, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, said:
“Through preventative additional testing and enhanced contact tracing, we are taking early action to try to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the whole of Calderdale and in the communities where we know the risk is highest. This enables us to find cases of new variants and support people to self-isolate to prevent further transmission. By acting now, we can all work together to stop things getting worse.”
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, added:
“These new preventative measures in Calderdale are going right to the heart of our communities, and we thank local people, community organisations and the contact tracing team for their continued joint efforts to help control the virus.
“As always, it’s so important for all of us to keep doing our bit to protect ourselves and each other, and to follow the five big things.”
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for NHS Test and Trace, said:
“As part of our proactive sequencing work, we have identified cases of COVID-19 variants in a number of areas across England. A small proportion of these cases have no link to international travel suggesting that there are some cases in the community.
“PHE and NHS Test and Trace are monitoring the situation closely and appropriate public health measures such as increased testing and contact tracing are being put in place where necessary.”
For up to-date and reliable information about COVID-19, use trusted sources such as: