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Article date - 04 June 2021
All staff and high school and college students across St Helens Borough are being urged to ensure they have a Covid-19 test before returning to school after the half term break.
St Helens has seen an increase in cases in the borough and the latest Coronavirus figures from Public Health England show that a third of all recorded new infection cases now involve people aged between 11 and 19. St Helens rates are currently 26 per 100,000 in the last week (28 May to 3rd of June), this is much higher than the start of May when rates were at 10 per 100,000. Rates are increasing in many areas in the North West.
St Helens Borough Council is asking staff and high school pupils at all schools in the borough to make sure they have a Covid-19 test before returning to school on Monday.
Year 11 pupils from all schools who may not be returning to classes after the half term break should also take a test if possible, particularly those who are scheduled to return to school to complete practical assessments in the near future.
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: “I am thankful to the young people and their families who have been testing regularly, it has helped to reduce the number of outbreaks in school and we want to keep our schools open. With the likelihood of increased social mixing between pupils during the half term holiday, it is vital that all pupils should ensure they are tested before they return to school next week. We would ask all teaching staff to do the same.
“If any pupils do test positive, we would urge them and their families to isolate immediately.”
In order to help people get tested over the weekend, the council is providing extra mobile testing facilities across the borough where you can either take a test on site or collect a testing kit to do yourself at home.
The facilities will be available at the following sites this Saturday and Sunday:
Saturday 5th June – 10am – 2pm
Sunday 6th June – 10am – 2pm
In addition you can also visit the council’s symptom free testing sites at Chester Lane Community Centre, Sutton Manor, and at St Mary’s Market in St Helens Town Centre. Both sites will be open from 10am to 3pm this Saturday and Sunday.
If you test positive on a symptom free lateral flow test (either at one of our testing sites or at home) please make sure to isolate and book a PCR test immediately to confirm whether you are positive.
Ruth added: “The tremendous response that local people have shown in getting themselves tested in recent months has made a real impact with our efforts to try and control the spread of new infections in the community.
“However with the 11 to 19 age group now showing some of the highest rates for new cases in the borough it is especially important that pupils take the correct steps to protect themselves and others during the next few weeks.”
For further details on accessing the local test sites this weekend and on how to collect a free test kit visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested
If you If you or anyone in your household has a high temperature, or a new, continuous cough or loss of sense of taste or smell, you should isolate and book a PCR test immediately.
The vaccination programme in St Helens Borough is being rolled out successfully and if you are eligible for a jab please take the opportunity. Being vaccinated reduces the risk of serious illness from Covid-19 by around 80 per cent. It can also help to significantly reduce the risk of passing Covid-19 on to others.
If you have any concerns about isolating and need support contact St Helens Together, where we can help with arranging things like food and medicine deliveries for you. Please call 01744 676767 for more details.