Surge testing is being expanded across parts of Lancashire, following the identification of a number of confirmed cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India. All cases have been instructed to self-isolate and their contacts are being identified.
Working in partnership with local authorities, NHS Test and Trace is launching additional testing and genomic sequencing across a number of areas, including Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale. Additional Mobile Testing Units, COVID-19 tests and door-to-door testing is being deployed in higher educational settings across these areas to find and isolate cases.
Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE, Leader of Hyndburn Borough Council said:
“In the coming weeks we will confirm the areas surge testing will take place in Hyndburn. It will be of utmost importance that people who live or work in any of the identified areas or settings come forward and take part. The purpose of this testing is to identify and stop any further spread of the variant of concern in our community.”
Everyone who lives, works or studies in the targeted areas and settings, including children, are being strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, whether they are showing symptoms or not. By using PCR testing, positive results can be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to identify variant of concern (VOC) cases and their spread.
In tandem with increased testing, enhanced contact tracing will be used for individuals testing positive with a variant of concern (VOC). This is where contact tracers look back over an extended period to determine the route of transmission.
By using PCR testing, positive results can then be sent for genomic sequencing at specialist laboratories, helping us to quickly identify COVID-19 cases with a variant of concern and then prevent their spread.
If you have symptoms you should book a free test online or by phone. You can then go to a testing site or have a kit sent to your home. If you have no symptoms, you should visit the local authority’s website for more information.
People in this area should continue to make use of free twice-weekly rapid tests, commonly known as lateral flow devices, alongside the PCR test as part of surge testing.
The government and its scientific experts are closely monitoring the evolving situation and rates of variants, and we will not hesitate to take additional action as necessary.