Renewed calls to book Covid tests as Stoke-on-Trent’s infection rate plateaus again


Council chiefs are again calling for more people to get tested for Covid – as the fall in infection rates has stalled once more.

Stoke-on-Trent’s weekly Covid-19 case rate had been falling for 13 days in row, reaching 139.2 cases per 100,000 on February 17 – the lowest rate seen in the city since October.

But the rate has now ticked up again to 144.3 cases per 100,000, following a slight increase in positive tests in the last few days.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is urging more people to undertake rapid lateral flow tests, with 17,808 slots available across 16 community testing venues this week.

Public health officials believe that screening up to 10 per cent of the population every week through lateral flow tests will help drive infection rates down even further, as more asymptomatic cases will be identified. They are particularly keen on people in Fenton East, Hanley Park and Shelton, and Penkhull and Stoke getting tested, as these areas currently have the highest infection rates in the city.

North Staffordshire’s current Covid hotspots

According to government figures, an average of 1,751 rapid tests a day are being conducted in the city, down from a peak of 2,048 earlier in the month.

Council leader Abi Brown says that following the government’s announcement of its roadmap out of lockdown, it is all the more important that people take up the offer of regular Covid testing. She said: “We want to ensure that we see a significant decrease in cases. Over the last few weeks there have been a couple of times where the rate has plateaued for a few days before starting to drop again.

“So we are continuing to encourage as many people as possible to get tested. The vaccine roll-out may be going well but it’s going to be some time before jabs are offered to the lower priority groups. That’s why it’s important that we continue to try to get that infection rate down.

“It’s a two pronged approach. We need to ensure the vaccine roll out continues, but we also need to keep following the guidelines and get tested, in order to protect ourselves and those around us.”

The council wants everyone who has to leave their home, either for work or to go shopping, to get tested once a week.

Lateral flow testing, which is intended only for people without coronavirus symptoms, can give a result within 30 minutes without the need for laboratory processing.

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Baddeley Green Working Men’s Club is the latest venue to be added to the list of community testing sites in Stoke-on-Trent. Testing is also being carried out a number of major employers in the city, while organisations such as Staffordshire Police have issued workers with testing kits.

People without coronavirus symptoms can book a test at a community venue by visiting www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can book a test at a regional testing centre by visiting via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, or calling 119.





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