Calderdale health chiefs speak out as they bid to control spread of Covid delta variant

Surge testing has begun in CalderdaleSurge testing has begun in Calderdale
Surge testing has begun in Calderdale
Health chiefs in Calderdale have spoken about plans to stop the Covid Delta variant in the borough.

Additional COVID-19 testing and enhanced contact tracing has started in Calderdale today as preventative measures to help contain the spread of the virus.

Deborah Harkins, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Through preventative additional testing and enhanced contact tracing, we are taking early action to try to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the whole of Calderdale and in the communities where we know the risk is highest.

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"This enables us to find cases of new variants and support people to self-isolate to prevent further transmission. By acting now, we can all work together to stop things getting worse.”

COVID-19 cases are gradually increasing in Calderdale, and across all parts of the borough the Council has detected an increase in cases of the Delta variant (first identified in India) in the last week. The number of Delta cases is still low but there are indications that rates are rising.

Additional testing and enhanced contact tracing are being introduced in the area to identify positive cases, including their contacts, enabling and supporting individuals to isolate so we can break chains of transmission and stop new variants from spreading further. The areas affected are Park ward, Todmorden ward and Warley ward.

o address this, extra COVID-19 testing will be carried out in these areas for all residents or those who work in these areas, irrespective of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not. Results of all positive cases will be analysed to determine whether cases are a new variant of concern.

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Councillor Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, added: “These new preventative measures in Calderdale are going right to the heart of our communities, and we thank local people, community organisations and the contact tracing team for their continued joint efforts to help control the virus.

“As always, it’s so important for all of us to keep doing our bit to protect ourselves and each other, and to follow the five big things.”

As part of the local delivery of additional testing, everyone who is asked to take a test will receive information about how to access support in case they have to self-isolate.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for NHS Test and Trace, said: “As part of our proactive sequencing work, we have identified cases of COVID-19 variants in a number of areas across England. A small proportion of these cases have no link to international travel suggesting that there are some cases in the community.

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“PHE and NHS Test and Trace are monitoring the situation closely and appropriate public health measures such as increased testing and contact tracing are being put in place where necessary.”

Local contact tracers are also continuing their engagement with communities to increase take-up of the COVID-19 vaccine where the number of vaccinated people is lower.

Additional testing is taking place as follows:

In Todmorden, the Mobile Testing Unit at Todmorden Sports Centre will be open as usual for symptomatic testing on Mondays, but it will also be open for an extended period to enable asymptomatic testing from Tuesday June 8 to Sunday June 13 .

From Wednesday June 9 to Friday June 11, PCR testing kits will be distributed to students at school for them to take home so their whole household can get tested.

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From Monday June 14 to Friday June 18, a Mobile Testing Unit will be travelling around Todmorden and Walsden.

In Park and Warley, from Tuesday June 8 to Friday June 18, a Mobile Testing Unit will be available in certain workplaces and PCR testing kits will be available to take home so that workers and their whole household can get tested.

From Thursday June 10 to Friday June 18, PCR testing kits will be available in certain schools in the area for students to take home for their whole household.

From Monday June 21, Mobile Testing Units will be going to a range of trusted community venues, including places of worship. These locations are being chosen through engagement with the local community to determine where is most appropriate and convenient for people to get tested.

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