SPECIALIST Covid-19 community testing teams are visiting Newton-le-Willows today after figures showed the area has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the borough.

Managed by St Helens Council, the teams will be engaging with residents, providing free symptom free testing kits and encouraging residents to test themselves at home.

The teams will also be providing advice on isolation support, should any residents test positive and will also be able to provide information on booking the Covid-19 vaccination or booster jab.

Newton-le-Willows currently has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the borough and has one of the highest confirmed numbers of new cases.

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Overall positive Covid-19 cases in St Helens have risen sharply in recent weeks.

In the week leading up to January 9, the rate of infections was 2071 per 100,000, with 3740 positive Covid-19 cases confirmed.

There are currently more than 100 people in St Helens and Knowsley Hospital with Covid-19, although the numbers seriously ill are believed to be low.

The surge testing teams will be visiting the Common Road and Earle Street areas of Newton-le-Willows during the day between 10 and 4pm on Thursday, January 13, to engage with local people on testing and vaccination.

In addition to delivering free testing kits to residents on the day, the surge testing teams will also return later in the day to update with residents, look at any issues they have had with using the kits and provide additional guidance and support if anyone has tested positive.

Ruth du Plessis, director of public health at the council, also issued a statement.
She said: “It is clear the presence of the Omicron variant in the borough has allowed local infection rates to climb more quickly than at any other time in the pandemic so far, so it is vital that we all take action now and test ourselves as often as we can.

“Testing is simple to do but can make a big difference in helping to keep infection rates down and people out of hospital.

“We would also advise all residents to take the opportunity to get your booster or other Covid vaccinations as soon as possible. It is the best protection you can have against Omicron and other variants of the virus.

"You should also try to get the flu vaccination as well if you are eligible.”