Tens of thousands of residents living in four parts of Stoke-on-Trent are being urged to get coronavirus tests.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is targeting people living in the Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley and Longton areas because of higher rates of community transmission in those communities.
The higher rates are particularly being blamed on household mixing.
Now council bosses want people to get tested before Christmas when lockdown rules are relaxed over the festive period.
Latest figures show Stoke-on-Trent has a coronavirus infection rate of 314.8 cases per 100,000 population. There were 92 cases reported on Tuesday to give a seven-day total of 832.
Lateral flow tests – where people get their swab result within 30 minutes – are taking place at Northwood Stadium today and tomorrow from 9.30am until 3pm.
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Council leader Abi Brown said: “Transmission of coronavirus within the city is continuing at pace and we remain the highest for Covid-19 cases in the West Midlands and around the top 10 nationally.
“I’ve said before that these are definitely not lists we want to be top of and I’d urge people to do all they can to help us break this cycle. We’ve done it before and we can do it again but we need to act now to brings our cases down.”
“We have a number of lateral flow rapid testing appointments in locations across the city – they are free and give results within 30 minutes. I’d urge everyone to take up these tests ahead of the festive period. That way people know they are playing their part in trying to kick coronavirus out of the city.”
It emerged earlier this week that Great Chell and Packmoor has the highest local Covid-19 infection rate in England. It had an infection rate of 1,352 per 100,000 population up to December 2.
But council bosses stress this data can rapidly vary due to the smaller numbers at ward level.
Dr Paul Edmondson Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “With the Christmas break fast-approaching, it has never been more important for people to follow the guidance and take up the opportunity to get tested, particularly in those areas of the city where we are seeing a higher rate of community transmission.
“While some areas within the city have been identified as having the highest levels of coronavirus, this will often reflect relatively small numbers at ward level and this means that across the city and indeed the country, there will always be variation in numbers.
“People are urged to take account of many things in a local area that can cause variation to the figures. This can include care homes, houses of multiple occupation, sheltered housing blocks, and extra care facilities, as well as general households.”
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