Following two weeks of Enhanced Testing throughout communities in South Manchester, this weekend the programme will draw to a close.
Earlier in the year several cases of the Kent Variant of Covid-19, with an extra mutation, were detected in Moss Side and surrounding neighbourhoods.
To contain the further spread of the virus measures were put in place to offer a test to everyone living, working or studying in specific postcode areas in Moss Side, Whalley Range, Fallowfield and Hulme.
During the period of Enhanced Testing multiple sites were set up across the affected areas where people could walk or drive up to get a PCR (swab) test for Covid-19.
This was supplemented by extensive work in the community where officers from the City Council’s Neighbourhoods Teams, volunteers and community representatives knocked on thousands of doors, alerting residents to the need to get a test.
Thousands of letters were also sent out, translated into 19 languages, to ensure that no community was left out of the drive to get tested.
This week the remaining Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) will be wound down in the area.
The testing site at the Moss Side Leisure Centre is expected to continue operating until Friday February 26 at 6pm.
Over the course of two weeks more than 5,000 tests were taken (see notes to editors), 6,130 doors were knocked on by our Neighbourhoods Team Officers, with an additional 2,065 homes receiving a second visit.
While local healthcare teams are still waiting for final data to come back on if any positive cases detected with the mutation, they have been notified of no cases so far.
However the testing period was successful in detecting in nearly 60 cases of Covid-19 where the patient was not displaying any symptoms, and therefore limiting further onwards spread of the virus.
Allowing these people to isolate and prevent any further spread is a hugely important step to reducing the number of new infections in Manchester.
It is also important that even though this period of Enhanced Testing is ending, anyone who develops Covid-19 symptoms should still get a test and if positive, isolate in line with current Government guidelines.
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing, said: “I would like to thank everyone living in the affected areas for their support and understanding during this period. We know that for some people it was alarming that these measures were being taken, but the number of people who came forward for a test illustrates just how many people were willing to play their part.
“We know that events like this may happen again as Covid-19 is known to mutate. However, we as a Council are prepared to support and communities affected and we are confident that our residents will rise to the challenge should the need arise.
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester said: “Enhanced Testing has been a vital tool for us to work on preventing the spread of Covid-19 variants in Manchester. Our local healthcare teams, supported and guided by experts at Public Health England, were able to quickly and effectively put measures in place to get as many people tested as soon as possible once the mutation of the Kent Variant was detected. We will be able to use this experience going forward if further variants are found in the city, and ensure that our communities are kept as safe as possible.”