Extra COVID testing in areas of concern in Calderdale has now come to an end, but residents are still encouraged to follow the five big things to protect themselves and others.
Targeted testing has been taking place for the last four weeks, initially in response to an increase in cases linked to a place-based outbreak and then in areas of the borough which were identified as having particularly high or rising rates of COVID. Anyone living or working in these areas without symptoms has been able to visit one of the local testing sites to take a PCR test, as a preventative measure to protect communities and identify cases of strains of the virus that spread more easily.
Calderdale residents responded to the extra testing with their usual kindness and the borough currently has the highest testing rate in the Yorkshire and Humber region – these efforts have helped slow down the spread of the virus.
Although this targeted, asymptomatic testing is ending, it’s important that residents continue to be vigilant to the spread of COVID. Cases are occurring more evenly across the borough, but rates are still high and the more contagious Delta variant (first identified in India) makes up the majority of Calderdale cases.
Testing sites at Thrum Hall Lane, Halifax and Daisy Street, Brighouse, will remain open for testing every day from 8am-8pm and Mobile Testing Units are still in place at Mixenden Activity Centre (Wednesdays and Thursdays), Todmorden Sports Centre (Fridays) and Lloyds Banking Group, Copley (Saturdays and Sundays) from 9am-3pm. Anyone that develops symptoms, or is identified as a contact of someone who’s tested positive for COVID and feels unwell in any way should attend one of the walk-in sites or book at test as soon as possible at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test(external link)
Residents without symptoms should continue to regularly test with the rapid results, Lateral Flow Tests at home. These can be ordered at https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests(external link). It is important that these tests are not used by people with symptoms as they are not as reliable as PCRs and there can be a high percentage of false negative results (where those that really do have COVID-19 get a negative test result).
Maximising uptake of both doses of the vaccine is essential to minimise harm from new variants and reduce your risk of catching it. Getting both doses of the vaccine is one of the five big things we can all do to help protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. If you haven’t had your first dose, or it’s been at least 8 weeks since your first dose and you haven’t had your second dose, you can walk-in, without an appointment, to one of the pop-up vaccination clinics. For the latest details see www.calderdaleccg.nhs.uk/walk-in-vaccination-clinics/(external link) With case rates still high, it’s important that everyone continues to do the following things:
- 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. A range of support is available to people self-isolating: calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/help.
- Meet others outside where possible, and if not then let fresh air in.
- Book our vaccine when we are invited by the NHS.
The Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift, said:
“I’d like to thank everyone who lives or works in the areas where extra testing has been taking place who took the time to get tested and also thank all the volunteers who supported this amazing effort.
“Although targeted testing in these areas is now coming to an end, it’s important we‘re not complacent and we all keep doing the five big things to protect ourselves and others whilst the vaccine rollout continues.”
Ben Leaman, Public Health Consultant at Calderdale Council, said:
“The recent additional testing has helped to identify cases of COVID-19 and instances of the Delta variant. By identifying cases and supporting people to self-isolate we’ve been able to break the chain of infection and slow the increase in the COVID rate. Our initial work in Todmorden has also seen the ward go from the highest COVID rate to the lowest in the borough and this is down to the efforts of local people.
“Unfortunately cases are still high right across the borough, so although targeted testing is finishing, we all need to keep doing our bit and making sure we continue to take a test if we have COVID symptoms, or are identified as a contact and feel unwell in any way. I also encourage everyone without symptoms to keep using the rapid tests to help us identify asymptomatic cases.
“The rate in Calderdale is still highest amongst young people and this is the age group that is unlikely to be double vaccinated. Now that anyone over 18 can get vaccinated, It’s really important to get the first vaccine and then follow up with the second dose when invited.”
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