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Key workers urged to use symptom free testing

Article date - 11 January 2021

Key workers who cannot work from home during this national lockdown are being encouraged to make the most of symptom free testing available in St Helens Borough.
testing centre st mary's.jpg

The quick tests are now being targeted at people in essential roles who are providing critical services needed to keep the borough running who cannot do that role from home. The guidance is that everyone should stay at home including working from home where ever possible.

The people being encouraged to use the symptom free testing includes those working in:

People who provide important support such as unpaid carers are also encouraged to make sure they get tested weekly to help them know they are virus free and can continue to support our communities.

Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “We have seen a fantastic response to our community testing since it was launched back in the beginning of December. We have seen more than 15,000 people undergo the symptom free testing, which is the equivalent of 8.3 per cent of our population.

“Since we launched the symptom free testing though we have seen a dramatic surge in cases across the borough, just as the rest of the nation has seen the same. With the national lockdown the message is now very clear – stay at home unless you work in one of the key worker roles. These people will still be coming into contact with others regularly so it’s really important if you work in one of those areas you have symptom free tests weekly to help keep you and the public safe and can continue to provide these vital services.”

Sue Forster, Director of Public Heath at St Helens Borough Council, added: “We are working with a variety of critical businesses and key sectors who are working with the public to provide targeted testing in their settings and have been providing screening for places like our hostels since the beginning of December. But we know there are others who can use our testing sites as a way to keep their services safe for the public and help us to find and isolate people who may not know they have it quickly to reduce the spread. So far the symptom free testing has helped us to catch 463 cases that might not have been found otherwise who could have gone on to infect others.”

The testing centres are open at St Mary’s Market, Chester Lane Community Centre and Grange Valley Youth Centre and are open from 8:30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 10-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays. There is no need to book, the test takes 5 minutes and you can get your results in as little as 30 minutes.

If you have symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of sense of smell or taste – please do not use the quick test centres but book a test online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

To find out more about the tests visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested