The leaders of all Staffordshire councils have joined forces to appeal for all workers who can’t work from home to book a regular Covid test – as part of the rollout of mass testing of people without symptoms.
With new Community Testing Centres open across the county, council leaders are calling for workers in all places allowed to stay open, to make testing part of their regular routine in efforts to identify more people who may unknowingly be carrying the virus.
The appeal is being backed by Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, George Adamson, Leader of Cannock Chase District Council, Duncan Goodfellow, Leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, Doug Pullen, Leader of Lichfield District Council, Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle Borough Council, Brian Edwards, Leader of South Staffordshire District Council, Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Danny Cook, Leader of Tamworth Borough Council.
Alan White, said: “Councils across Staffordshire have worked together like never before, to do everything we can to protect lives and livelihoods across each and every district and borough area.
“While cases have started to fall in lockdown, they still remain worryingly high and we know that across the country hospitals are becoming overwhelmed – with reports nationally that someone is now being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 every 30 seconds.
“There is good news on the horizon with the vaccines, but we cannot become distracted by this, as it will be many months before we know and feel the benefits.
“The national lockdown means we must stay at home as much as possible. However, we all recognise that some people simply can’t work from home. That is why we are appealing to everyone who is out working in Staffordshire this week to book a test. It is free, quick and has never been easier to book one.
“One third of people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms and you could be one of them. So please get tested now, it may just protect your workmates, your community and your family when you return home at the end of the day.
Responding for Cannock Chase Council, George Adamson said: “Many of our residents do not have the opportunity to work from home and are providing vital income for their households. Everyone understands that and so this additional testing is extremely welcome to enable workers to get a test, not least for `peace of mind`.
“Testing at the Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock has begun and will continue until next Sunday, initially. It is designed to make it as easy as possible to get a test and a quick result.”
The current seven day rates are: Staffordshire 433 per 100,000 of population; Cannock Chase 544; East Staffordshire 527; Lichfield 387; Newcastle 296; South Staffordshire 605; Stafford 401; Staffordshire Moorlands 247 and Tamworth 480.
The county council has now opened Community Testing Centres in all districts and boroughs. These are at: Cannock’s Chase Leisure Centre, Hillfield House, Burton, Burntwood Leisure Centre/Lichfield FC, the Seabridge Centre, Newcastle, Wombourne Library the Kingston Centre Stafford, Biddulph Leisure Centre and Tamworth Campus/Wilnecote Parish Hall – with the aim of offering testing seven days a week for people without symptoms.
The council’s fleet of Covid vans will also be setting up mobile Community Testing Pop-Ups across the county. You can find out more and book now at Welcome to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Test Sites Appointment System (zipporah.co.uk)
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire’s Director of Health and Care, said: ‘We all need to stick to the basic rules of hands, face and space, work from home where we can and get tested if you are working through lockdown.
”We are seeing the biggest increases in the 19 to 34 year-old bracket, with many in this age group not only likely to be working but also seeing more people, so we would appeal to working people of this age group in particular to get tested on a regular basis.”