As the weekend approaches, Sefton Council is reminding people who live and work in the borough that, unlike many of us, COVID-19 doesn’t take Saturdays and Sundays off.
Additionally, people are being warned not to drop their guard even if they have been vaccinated. They could still pass on the virus even if they are fully vaccinated with both jabs.
Over the last few weeks there has been a significant rise in cases in Sefton as the more infectious Delta virus, first identified in India, takes hold across the country. Earlier this week, Peter Hampshire the clinical director for critical care and pain at Liverpool’s main University Hospital Trust warned that they were starting to see a fourth wave in the city.
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “With longer, lighter, warmer days, more of us having had both vaccination jabs and the end of lockdown in sight albeit delayed, it’s tempting to start forgetting what we need to do to stop the spread.
“Recently, numbers of cases in the borough have been doubling as quickly as every four or five days.
“It’s no good us getting tested, wearing masks and socially distancing in our workplaces and classrooms through the week and then forgetting it all at the weekend.
“Yes, it’s better if we gather outdoors but we should still be maintaining the two-metre rule and wearing face masks on public transport and in shops as well as when moving around in restaurants and pubs.
“And, we need to keep up the habit of washing our hands, frequently and thoroughly, to prevent the spread of coronavirus and some other vomiting bugs which are going around at the moment.”
COVID vaccinations are now available to everyone aged 18 or over. To book their jab, people should visit www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination.
When cases of the Delta variant were first identified in the Formby area numbers remained low, Margaret Jones attributed this to high local levels of vaccination.
She said: “The Delta variant is more transmissible than other COVID variants but the vaccinations available remain resistant to it so everybody over 18 should get both doses, which offer the highest level of protection.
“But we need to remember that even once we’ve had both doses, there is a slight chance we can still contract the virus and we can also still pass it on to other people around us for whom it could be serious.”
Government recommendations say people should be taking rapid tests, which provide a result in around 30 minutes, twice a week even though they do not have symptoms. Anyone with the main coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss of taste or smell should self-isolate straight away and book a PCR test by dialling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Free home test kits are widely available from all Sefton’s pharmacies as well as online from www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
They can also be collected between 2.30pm and 8pm, seven days a week, from walk-through Local Test Centres opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Crosby Library Car Park, Netherton Activity Centre and Southport Town Hall. No appointments are needed.
Rapid testing for people without symptoms is also available at Bootle Strand and Southport’s Splash World. The Splash World site is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. The Bootle Strand site, the former H Samuel unit, is open 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
And, people can also choose to have assisted testing at the Bootle Strand or Splash World test sites.