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Test team hit thousands of homes in Parr

Article date - 28 July 2021

More than 6,000 households in Parr were targeted with testing and vaccination advice as part of St Helens Borough Council’s response to high Covid-19 infection rates.
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Homes across the ward were visited by a specialist surge rapid response team who have been brought into St Helens Borough as part of the council’s plans to tackle cases when it was designated an Enhanced Response Area (ERA).

Although the borough is no longer classed as an ERA the team will remain in St Helens for the next two weeks to support continued community activity to help tackle the continuing high rates of Covid-19.

The latest seven-day data to July 23 shows that St Helens Borough rates have fallen slightly but still remain high at 435 cases per 100,000 people. There are currently 34 people in our local hospital with Covid-19.

Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “St Helens Borough was the only place across the Liverpool City Region to get this kind of support to help us target areas where cases continue to remain high, alongside lower rates of vaccination uptake. This was one of the benefits we were able to get as an Enhanced Response Area that is helping to really drive our message around regular symptom free testing and getting vaccinated as ways we can reduce our rates of transmission.

“Thank you to the vast majority of residents of Parr who were polite and supportive of our testing teams at the weekend. The work they are doing is vital to help us bring down our rates of Covid-19. It can be difficult for our teams to talk to people about this as we know it’s sensitive, we’ve also seen our local contact tracing team and testing crews experience a small amount of negativity about the work they are doing but it’s important to remember they are just doing their job.

“We know from hearing people’s views about the lifting of restrictions that many people are still not ready to return to life before Covid-19 so please be kind and considerate of others and how they feel in busy spaces.”

The surge rapid response team will next turn their focus on Clock Face and Earlestown areas with teams calling at homes with symptom free test kits.

Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, added: “This weekend the team will not only be calling at homes to deliver the symptom free test kits but will be returning later in the day to check up with those who took them and haven’t tested to make sure they have been able to carry out the test at home and provide at home PCR test kits for anyone who does test positive. This approach seems to have made a difference in other parts of the country in helping to bring rates down, keep people out of hospital and protect the NHS.

“We’re now taking this approach as we want to encourage people who maybe haven’t tested before at home to give it a try. Testing regularly is a great way to know your risks and helps to pick up cases before they become symptomatic and reduces the risk of spread to others.”

To find out more about testing, including how to order your own home test kits or book a test if you have symptoms which include a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a loss of sense of taste or smell, visit the Lets Get Tested page.