Leadership statement – coronavirus testing

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The number of positive cases in Warrington have increased, and the latest figures reveal a sustained, upwards trend, with cases confirmed in pubs, hospitality settings, and schools.

The council’s Chief Executive, Professor Steven Broomhead, said: “As a council, we are working with businesses and schools to manage localised outbreaks as they occur to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

“As cases are confirmed, all those who may have been in contact with people who have tested positive are being traced, and those identified as close contacts are being advised to self-isolate, and get tested as per the government guidance.

“There now appears to be serious issues with capacity in labs which is having an impact on testing capacity, with some people in Warrington who attempt to book a test online via the government’s website being advised that Telford is the nearest site available.

“To try to address some of the issues, there has been a Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) in Warrington to increase local access to testing, but this is now also at full capacity.”

Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “This situation is unacceptable for our residents, who are doing the right thing by following the government guidance, and trying to book a test if they have coronavirus symptoms.

“What is clear is that testing capacity across the country is stretched, and we will be doing all we can to escalate our concerns, but we need to ask our residents to play their part too.

“Locally, we are now getting to the point where we are experiencing major issues with inequalities around access to testing. We cannot expect people to travel such a distance to get a test when they are being advised to self-isolate if they have symptoms.

“I would like to ask everyone to please use the testing facilities responsibly, and only book a test if you have symptoms of coronavirus, or are advised to do so by a contact tracer. Testing is of limited value to those who aren’t displaying symptoms, and booking a test unnecessarily might mean there is no capacity for someone who is ill with symptoms and needs one urgently.”

If you have symptoms, and are unable to book a test immediately through the government’s website, advice from Department of Health and Social Care is that more tests are often made available throughout the day online, or by calling 119.

To find out more about coronavirus testing, visit warrington.gov.uk/get-tested-coronavirus

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