Additional COVID-19 testing in Calderdale is now being extended to more parts of the borough to help contain the spread of the virus.

Extra testing continues in the Park, Todmorden and Warley areas, and now, people who live, work or study in Ryburn, Sowerby Bridge, Illingworth or Mixenden are also being asked to get tested due to rapidly increasing cases in these wards.

COVID-19 infection rates are still rising across Calderdale. On Sunday 20 June, the latest rate was 137 per 100,000 – a 33% increase compared to the previous week. The Delta variant, which spreads more quickly, now makes up the majority of cases.

The positive impact of the recent additional testing in Park, Todmorden and Warley can be seen in the latest testing figures. 7,500 people had a PCR test between 13 and 19 June – double the number compared to the week before. Testing is important because half of Calderdale residents that test positive don’t have symptoms, so the testing finds COVID-19 cases that we wouldn’t know about otherwise. We can support them to self-isolate and break the chain of infection.

To build on the intensive work on additional testing and community engagement in recent weeks, testing will continue at sites in Park, Todmorden and Warley, and PCR testing for people without symptoms in Ryburn, Sowerby Bridge, Illingworth and Mixenden is getting started.

For information on additional testing and the location of testing sites, please visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/managing/extra-testing

Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said:

“Calderdale now has the highest COVID testing rate in the region and we’re incredibly grateful to all the residents, schools, workplaces and other organisations which have played a part in this.

“Rapidly increasing case rates in some parts of the borough mean we’re now offering extra PCR testing to people without symptoms in areas with the highest case rates and where there is a high risk of transmission.

“We urge people to keep doing everything they can to help protect themselves and others, including taking up the extra testing in some parts of Calderdale.”

Deborah Harkins, the Council’s Director of Public Health, added:

“We are reviewing COVID case rates and the uptake of extra testing every day, and making changes to the location of testing sites where needed. Please keep an eye on our website for updates.

“If you live in one of the areas where additional testing is taking place, even if you do regular rapid Lateral Flow Tests at home, it’s important that you take a PCR test, regardless of whether you have symptoms. You may want to swap one of your regular Lateral Flow Tests for a PCR test, so that you aren’t doing any more tests than usual but are helping to identify and contain any new variants of concern.”

The additional testing programme in Calderdale includes the following:

  • Existing PCR testing sites, which are still being used for people with symptoms to get tested, are now also being used for asymptomatic PCR testing. They are open for walk-in testing with no appointment needed.
  • Mobile Testing Units are visiting community venues (determined by feedback from local people about the most appropriate and convenient locations) with no appointments needed.
  • Mobile Testing Units are visiting a number of workplaces and test kits are being provided for employees to take home for the people they live with.
  • Test kits are being distributed through a number of schools and colleges for students and members of their household.

Extra testing is being supported by:

  • Raising awareness of support to self-isolate. Please visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/help for details of the range of support available.
  • Continued engagement with local communities.
  • Action to increase uptake of both doses of the vaccine. The Delta variant spreads more quickly than the Alpha variant (first identified in Kent). Evidence from Public Health England shows that two doses of either vaccine provide at least 90% protection against illness caused by the Delta variant that requires hospital treatment. Local contact tracers are contacting people at highest risk to discuss the vaccine with them and, where appropriate, book vaccination slots for them. Pop-up vaccine clinics continue in trusted and accessible community venues and workplaces.

There are five big things that we can all do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Keep our distance and limit mixing with people we don’t live with.
  • Wear a face covering where necessary, unless medically exempt.
  • Self-isolate if we test positive or are a contact of someone who has tested positive. A range of support is available to people self-isolating: www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/help.
  • Meet others outside where possible, and if not then let fresh air in.
  • Book our vaccine when we are invited by the NHS.

For up-to-date and reliable information about COVID-19, use trusted sources such as:

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

www.calderdale.gov.uk/coronavirus