Surge Covid testing is rolled out in Staffordshire

Surge Covid testing is rolled out in Staffordshire after case of South Africa variant is detected in resident with no links to international travel

  • Stafford Borough Council detected variant strain during a routine lab screening 
  • They said there is no evidence of the strain now circulating in the community 
  • Council is advising everyone in the area to be Covid tested in next four weeks 

Surge Covid testing will be rolled out in Staffordshire after a case of the South Africa variant was detected in a resident with no links to international travel.

The virus was found during a routine lab screening after the person tested positive for coronavirus in January.

Stafford Borough Council said there is no evidence of the strain circulating in the community, and that the unwell person has since recovered.  

Officials added that contact tracing has established they had no known contact with people in their local area whilst infectious, and no links to other areas with known cases of the South Africa variant.

Surge Covid testing will be rolled out in Staffordshire after a case of the South Africa variant was detected in a resident with no links to international travel. Pictured: Testing in Lancashire today

The council is now advising everyone in the Stafford borough area to take a Covid tested over the next four weeks, as part of efforts to identify any further cases of the variant.

Dr Nic Coetzee, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health England Midlands, said: ‘With new variants emerging all the time and spreading more rapidly, it is not surprising that a case of the South African variant has been found in Staffordshire.

‘While there is currently no evidence of the South African variant circulating in the community, we want to be proactive in testing people and stopping the spreading of infection. 

‘This is a timely reminder to everyone to continue to follow the rules, stay at home, and if they do have essential reasons to leave their home then get tested regularly.’

Community testing for people without symptoms is available seven days a week in every borough and district, and the county council plans to offer additional testing capacity and screening for the variant in Stafford borough.

Dr Richard Harling, the county council’s director of health and care said: ‘In Staffordshire we are asking everyone who has a legitimate reason for being out and about during lockdown, to make sure they get tested at least weekly at one of our community testing centres for people without symptoms.

‘We know that one in three people who have the virus show no symptoms, and this will help us identify more people with Covid who should be isolating, which will help stop the spread of infection.

‘In the case of residents who test positive in Stafford borough, we will also check to see whether they have the South African variant.’

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