Advice from Calderdale's public health boss as free lateral flow tests end this week

'Living with Covid doesn't mean ignoring it' - that's the warning form Calderdale's director of public health ahead of free lateral flow tests ending.

By sarah fitton
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 9:59 am

From Friday (April 1), only the over-75s and over-12s with weakened immune systems will be given the tests for free.

Everyone else will have to buy them.

Free PCR tests will not be available to people from April either, except for a small number of at-risk groups, with details to be announced.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from Covid-19

The move comes despite rising cases of Covid-19. Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has said the number of patients in its hospitals testing positive has more than doubled over the last fortnight, from 46 to 105.

Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Deborah Harkins, said: “We’ve all been living with the impacts of Covid-19 for over two years now and as the pandemic has evolved we’ve learned a lot about the virus.

“As much of the national and local Covid-19 response system is stepped down, we’ve been working with local partners to establish what living with Covid means for Calderdale. In doing this work, we are all clear that living with Covid doesn’t mean ignoring it.

“Fewer people have been taking tests recently, so our local figures are not as reliable, however we have seen a number of recent outbreaks and a rise in people with Covid-19 in hospital.

Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Deborah Harkins,

"The Office for National Statistics’ random Covid testing of the population suggests that around one in 25 people currently have Covid in our region.

“The steps we can each take to prevent Covid being spread haven’t changed. Even though it’s no longer a legal requirement, we should all stay at home if we have Covid or are unwell with symptoms that might be Covid.

“The best way to prevent yourself from getting Covid-19, getting seriously ill and spreading it to others is to get fully vaccinated. The spring booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has just started rolling out for those most at risk – these people will be contacted by the NHS.

“It’s also important to remember that not everyone feels the same about living with the virus and we should all continue to show kindness and consideration for others."

She said there are simple steps to prevent the spread of the virus. These include getting vaccinated, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed places, letting in fresh air when meeting others indoors - especially if they are at high risk from Covid-19 - washing hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and staying home if you are unwell.

“We’ve come so far and thanks to everyone’s efforts we’re able to once again enjoy some of the things we used to take for granted before the pandemic," she added.

"Let’s not be complacent now and remember the virus is still with us and we should continue to do everything we can to look after our communities and protect health and social care services.”