Teams from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be offering residents lateral flow testing kits on their doorsteps in a drive to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the city.

Covid stewards and staff from the Trust will visit households in areas across the city where testing rates have been low and Covid-19 rates have been historically high. The teams will provide households with lateral flow testing kits and offer advice on how to use the kits, and answer any questions residents may have.

The first area staff will visit is Joiners Square on Wednesday 28 July. Further areas will be communicated via the city council’s social media accounts and weekly Covid-19 updates.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the city, the aim of this part of the enhanced community testing scheme is to talk to residents to find out more about their concerns over the virus and to encourage people to regularly test themselves. As a local authority, we try and ensure we reach as many residents as possible with key messages, particularly those about keeping yourself safe and well. However, we know that many people find more value in having a face-to-face conversation with somebody, and that residents may have questions.

“We hope that by adding this element to our testing programme that we can help more people access lateral flow tests to ultimately keep them safe from this dreadful virus, and to offer advice and support if they do come into contact with it.”

Over the summer holidays, the successful pop up testing centres will be held in city parks in an effort to encourage as many residents as possible to test themselves for Covid-19 at least twice a week. Visitors will be able to take lateral flow tests on site or collect testing kits to take home with them.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Director of Adult Social Care, Health Integration and Wellbeing, said: “The latest figures show that the seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in Stoke-on-Trent is now 555 per 100,000 people, for the week 14-20 July, with an increase of 5.4 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 13.5 per cent. Regular testing and isolating positive cases is key to driving down our positivity rate. 

“As families spend more quality time together and get out and about more over the summer break, it’s important we continue to help protect ourselves and each other through regular Covid-19 testing, getting our vaccinations when we are able to, wearing face coverings in busy places and practising Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air where we can. All of these measures will really help to stop the spread of the virus. Our teams can offer advice on testing and answer any questions you may have. If a resident does test positive through the testing scheme, they will be supported by our staff. Ultimately, we want to ensure that our residents are informed on how they can stay safe while Covid-19 is still with us.”

Dr Ian Turner, Deputy Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention & Control for Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The worrying increase in the number of cases both locally and nationally in recent weeks has shown Covid-19 continues to remain a clear and present threat. We must continue to do all we can to combat the virus – this includes regular testing to help protect loved ones, friends and others.

“As part of the wider campaign to tackle Covid in Stoke-on-Trent, we’re once again working closely with the city council to offer home testing kits to residents living in areas identified as having a high Covid case rate. Testing is simple, quick and helps to stop the spread of infection.”

For information on booking a COVID-19 lateral flow test, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test

For information on where you can pick COVID-19 lateral flow testing home kits, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/communitycollect

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