Residents encouraged to get Covid-19 tested as St Mary's Test Centre prepares to close
Residents in St Helens Borough are being encouraged to get themselves Covid-19 tested as the borough's main test centre prepares to close later this month.
Article date: 17 March 2022
With the Government's legal requirements for people to self-isolate with Covid-19 ending in February and general symptom free testing for the public to end from 31 March, the borough's main fixed testing site at St Mary's Market in St Helens town centre will close on Saturday 26 March.
This will mark the end of formal community Covid-19 testing in the borough, although care staff and others working with vulnerable residents will still be able to test as normal at their workplaces.
As the testing centre at St Mary's prepares to close, residents are being asked to come forward and get tested at the centre during the next few days.
Although Covid-19 infection rates have recently fallen in the borough, infection rates have started to rise sharply again in the last few weeks.
In the seven days up to 11 March, the number of positive cases confirmed in the borough was 911, which is nearly double the number of cases confirmed the previous week. Likewise infection rates in the borough during the same period were at 504 cases for 100,000 people, a 92 per cent increase on the previous week.
With the number of new infections now rising so quickly again, residents are being advised to keep testing regularly if they can after formal community testing ends at the end of this month.
Free Covid-19 test kits can still be collected from St Mary's Testing Centre until the centre closes on 26 March and from other sites in the borough including local libraries, leisure centres and pharmacies while stocks last.
In addition the council's Mobile Testing Units will continue to provide lateral flow testing for residents until the end of the month.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage said: "The symptom free testing programme run through St Mary's and the sites at Chester Lane and Grange Valley has been tremendously important in helping to identify Covid infections early and help avoid the virus being passed on to many more people undetected.
"We would like to thank all residents who have stepped forward to get tested as their efforts have been vitally important in helping to limit the spread of the virus further in the last 15 months.
"Infection rates in the borough are now starting to show a worrying increase again however and we would ask residents to continue testing when they can to help prevent cases increasing further."
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: "Although formal community testing will end in the borough shortly, we would encourage residents to keep testing regularly if they can particularly with infection rates in the borough starting to rise again sharply. It is still the best way to protect yourself and particularly any vulnerable or elderly people you may live with or have regular contact with.
"Residents can still visit the St Mary's Centre to get test until 26 March and testing kits are available to collect from our libraries, leisure centres and from local pharmacies while stocks are available.
"Remember you can easily have the Covid-19 virus but show no symptoms at all so it is still important to test if you can, particularly if you are visiting anyone elderly or vulnerable."
You can still order a Covid-19 test kit online for the following circumstances:
- you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments
- you visit someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
- you tested positive for COVID-19 and want to check if you're still infectious after 5 days - find out about doing rapid tests if you're staying at home
- you work, volunteer, or visit somewhere that's high risk
For more information on testing please visit the NHS COVID-19 testing page.