Enhanced testing is being rolled out in Gamesley in response to rising Covid-19 infection rates, including cases of the variant which originated in India.
Derbyshire County Council says it is working with NHS Test and Trace, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, High Peak Borough Council and NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group in an effort to slow the transmission rate in Gamesley.
It comes as the weekly cases of coronavirus in the Gamesley and Glossop area have trebled.
In the final two weeks of May, 63 people tested positive for Covid – of which 42 were either confirmed or suspected to be variants of concern – compared to 22 people who tested positive in the last two weeks of April.
The county council has now confirmed that every household in Gamesley will get free PCR tests delivered to their door on Thursday or Friday (3 and 4 June) and people over the age of five at each address will be encouraged to take a test.
A walk-in vaccination clinic will also be held in Gamesley on Saturday 5 June for those eligible people living in the area who have yet to take up the offer of having their first dose of the vaccine.
'We need the community to pull together and do the right thing'
Derbyshire's Director of Public Health Dean Wallace described the outbreak of Covid-19 as concerning and urged everyone living in the area to use the PCR tests to protect their loved ones, their friends and their community.
He said: “Despite all our best efforts cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in Gamesley, including the variant first discovered in India. This significant outbreak reminds us that we cannot afford to let our guard down as we ease out of restrictions.
“While there’s no evidence that this strain causes a more serious illness and the vaccines remain highly effective in protecting us against it, it does spread more easily – which is why we need everyone to be on their guard.
“There’s a real chance to stop the virus from spreading but we need the community to pull together and do the right thing and I cannot stress enough the importance of taking a test.
“We’re asking everyone aged five and over who lives on the Gamesley estate to do a PCR test to help keep themselves, their family and their community safe.”
Dean Wallace, public health director for Derbyshire. Image: Derbyshire County Council.
How the PCR test kits will work
Fire service, public health and council staff will drop off free PCR test kits to residents on Thursday and Friday and will then return later to collect them for testing in a laboratory.
People are asked to take the test, whether they have symptoms or not, as one in three people can carry the virus without showing any symptoms and could be passing it on without knowing.
The PCR test is the most reliable test for Covid-19 and is done by taking a swab of the throat and nose. Children under 11 should be helped by an adult. Results are usually returned within one to two days and help to keep track of cases, including new variants of Covid-19.
Residents who need it will be offered advice and support to carry out the tests themselves and once completed they will place them in a secure container outside their property which will be collected later. For the latest information, visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/gamesleyarea
Vaccine clinic in Gamesley
On Saturday, a vaccination bus will park up at Winster Mews car park, off Melandra Castle Road, and anyone who is eligible (over the age of 30) and has yet to have their first dose of the vaccine can go along between 9.45am and 3pm.
There’s no need to book, just turn up, but residents are asked not to attend if they have Covid-19 symptoms or have recently tested positive. If residents prefer to book a time slot they can visit www.tamesideandglossop.nhsvaccinations.co.uk or they can ring their GP.
NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG Co-chairmen Dr Asad Ali and Dr Ashwin Ramachandra said: “The rise in cases of the new Covid variant in Gamesley makes it important to vaccinate as many people as possible to provide protection, stop the spread and help us get back to normal.
“We’d encourage those eligible in Gamesley who have not yet had their jab to come along. A team of friendly professionals and community volunteers will be on hand to guide and support you through the quick and easy process.”
If residents cannot attend the pop-up clinic, they can book locally using the details above or at a mass vaccination centre online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or by calling NHS 119.
Anyone over the age of 30 in the Gamesley area will be able to get their first vaccine dose at the clinic on Saturday
Councillor Anthony Mckeown, Leader of High Peak Borough Council and Gamesley resident, added: “Local people might be concerned about the increase in the infection rate in Gamesley, but there are things we can all do to keep it under control.
“That’s why we’re working together with our partners to offer easy access testing and vaccination services to the local community. I urge everyone to take the test and, if you’re eligible, go along to the walk-in clinic on Saturday and get your first vaccination.
“Our actions do count, and it’s as important as ever that we do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Group Manager Dean Gazzard said: “We have around 25 fire service personnel and various fire service vehicles supporting local resilience forum partners setting up and facilitating the central hub for surge testing in the Gamesley area.
“While we have been supporting the community response to Covid-19 since February 2020, everyone has their own part to play in helping to prevent the spread of the virus, so I would like to encourage everyone living in the area to use the PCR tests that will be delivered and collected from them, to help protect their family, friends and the community.”
What to do if you have Covid
Anyone without symptoms does not need to self-isolate while they wait for test results and can still go to work if they cannot work from home.
If they have any of the three main symptoms of Covid-19 then you must self-isolate immediately for 10 days. The three main symptoms are:
• A new, continuous cough
• A high temperature
• A loss or change to their sense of smell or taste
If a resident or their child has to self-isolate and they are on a low income they could be eligible for a one-off payment of £500. They can also get support with things like shopping and picking up prescriptions. For more information, visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/selfisolationsupport.