Residents across the borough are being advised to carry out symptom free testing twice weekly and to attend for vaccination as soon as they are eligible as part of measures to contain rising Covid-19 cases.
The Wargrave community, which has had some of the highest rates in recent weeks in the borough, will also be targeted with teams of volunteers will be out in the area talking to residents and delivering testing kits to households across this weekend and into next week.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “We were made an Enhanced Response Area at the beginning of the week as we along with the rest of Cheshire and Merseyside are seeing a rapid rise in the number of cases we are dealing with.
“We’ve seen that in other places where they have experienced a dramatic rise like Bolton they came together as a community to get as many people as possible testing alongside vaccinating as a successful way to tackle the virus.
“So now as a community we need to do the same so please make sure you get tested regularly with symptom free testing, if you have symptoms isolate and book a PCR test and get your vaccine – which by the end of this week will be open to everyone aged 18 and over.”
High schools are also being encouraged to bring back on site testing for pupils, with support from St Helens Council, and parents are encouraged to get their children to take part in the scheme at their school.
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health, added: “In St Helens Borough our rates have doubled in the last 10 days and rapid increases in the past few days. We have been dealing with a sustained period of transmission in both Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown and while initially this was linked to outbreaks outside the area we have started to see people not sure of where they have caught it from, indicating community spread. This is why we feel it’s important that in this area everyone takes a symptom free rapid test which is easy to do at home and gives you results within 30 minutes. Our teams will be out and about in Wargrave calling in at homes to drop off test kits and chat about vaccinations.
“This is just one of the measures we’re taking to tackle our rapidly increasing rates of Covid-19. Unfortunately we are starting to see the rapid growth in cases that other parts of the North West have already experienced. Now more than ever it’s vital that you get your vaccine, with everyone over the age of 18 eligible by the end of this week, there is no excuse not to get one soon.
“The vaccination hub at the Totally Wicked Stadium will be hosting drop in days next Tuesday and Friday where you don’t need an appointment and can get your Pfizer vaccine from 8am to 7pm with a break at 12:30pm to 1:30pm. If you can’t make those days there are hundreds of appointments available to book every day of the week at the centre.
“It’s also vital that those who are waiting for second jabs to check if they can move theirs forward from 12 weeks to 8 weeks as we know that having two jabs really bolsters the body’s defences against serious illness from Covid-19. The Vaccination Bus will also be out and about delivering Oxford-AstraZeneca first and second doses to those over 40. Allied Pharmacy on Bold Industrial Estate is also offering walk in appointments with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses this Saturday and Monday from 10am to 4pm and Wednesday from 10am to 2pm.”
To find out more about how Covid-19 tests visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested