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‘Make or break’ time for the city with increase in positive coronavirus cases and more testing capacity secured

Published: Friday, 2nd October 2020

Residents are being urged ‘it is make or break time’ to comply with public health guidance following a marked increase in coronavirus cases in Stoke-on-Trent.

Cases in the city are now at 41 cases per 100,000 people. This is an eight per cent increase in a week. On 1 October, 19 new cases of the virus were confirmed in the city bringing the seven day number of cases to 105.

 

Positive cases continue to be found in a number of areas across the city and are not restricted to just one specific part of the city. Worryingly, the percentage of people who have been swabbed and tested positive has also increased and is now at 3.6 per cent.  

The news comes at a time when more and more areas across the country are being placed into compulsory lockdowns or seeing additional measures being enforced by government to stop the virus from spreading as cases rise throughout the UK. It is believed that nearly half of Northern England is now either in lockdown or officially under some form of intervention and special measures as a result of coronavirus. Hundreds of thousands of residents in the West Midlands are also in enhanced measures including Birmingham, Solihull and Wolverhampton.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “Coronavirus takes hold quickly – we are seeing case numbers increase quickly and more people who are being tested for the virus are testing positive. This is a make or break time for Stoke-on-Trent and I’d appeal to everyone to act now to stop coronavirus spreading in the city.

“Action is essential to protect our loved ones and to try and avoid lockdown measures in the city. We previously came off the watch list but this is only because other areas had higher rates than us – we can very quickly catch them up if we don’t do the right things. Follow the public health safety advice and measures that are in place – wash your hands, make space, cover your face and don’t car share. If you do have to car share then please make sure you follow the public health measures in place for doing so. If we individually take positive steps now, we can kick coronavirus out of Stoke-on-Trent.”

The update on cases comes alongside the news that local testing will again be made available to residents from Fenton Manor Sports Complex. The local testing centre, run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, with support from the NHS and other partners, will be open on Monday and Tuesday (5 and 6 October) with over 200 tests available a day.

It follows a letter being sent by leaders of both the city council and Staffordshire County Council to government to ask for funding to extend community testing within the area. It also comes after a number of complaints from residents at not being able to access testing locally through the local system and being asked to drive hundreds of miles for a test.

Council leader Abi Brown continued: “Testing is a critical part of our strategy to reduce the coronavirus infection rate in our city. Not only does it ensure people aren’t passing the virus on but it gives us more data and helps us to improve our knowledge of the local situation and context.

“By working together with partners, we’re making sure residents in Stoke-on-Trent get access to the testing they need and it helps to inform our local intelligence and data so we have a better understanding of how we can try and halt the virus spreading in the city. It also means people who are negative can get back to work and school quicker.

“With positive cases rising, it’s even more essential that we have access to testing so I’m really pleased that we’re able to yet again offer residents this as an option. The number of tests at the Stoke City FC South Car Park site has increased again this week, which is good news and we instructed people to book at this facility first before trying our local arrangements. I am pleased that we have had the capacity at Fenton Manor and have been able to act to meet the demand.”

Tests at Fenton Manor will be open for bookable test appointments between 9.00am and 2.30pm.

The booking line for appointments goes live from 9.00am on Sunday and is bookable 24 hours in advance for anyone with symptoms. Before trying to book at the pilot centre, people should first try to get a testing appointment through the national system. The regional testing centre is at the Stoke City FC South Car Park. Bookings can be made via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, or ringing 119, where help is available in other languages.

If not successful through the national booking arrangements, people can book for a community test 24 hours in advance on a rolling basis if they are showing coronavirus symptoms. Residents can book on www.stoke.gov.uk for Fenton Manor bookings. If residents do need to cancel their booking, they are urged to please follow the instruction on their confirmation email.

Appointments are only available for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire residents who are showing symptoms of coronavirus. Those who do get an appointment should follow Covid-19 guidelines when they visit including following social distancing advice, wearing a face covering and using hand sanitiser.

Attendees need to bring proof of residency in Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire when they are being tested. This can include a photo driving licence, bank statement within a month, most recent council tax statement and a utility bill dated within three months and can be in hard copy or via a mobile device.

The centre remains open to leisure centre users and there will be an alternative entrance for those who are due to be tested and a strict one-way system in place to ensure the building remains Covid-secure.

Booking information for residents making an appointment at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, City Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2RR:

  • Please do not turn up if you do not have an appointment. Please try to book via the national booking system first.
  • Closer parking has been arranged nearer to the testing room, in the bus layby, for those with appointments, so unless directed, please do not park on the main leisure centre car park. 
  • The testing room cannot be accessed through the main leisure centre entrance. Follow the signs and any marshal instructions. 
  • Disabled access is available for those unable to climb steps. 
  • Attend on your own, unless you need personal assistance or cannot arrange childcare.
  • Wear a face covering throughout your visit (except as directed by medical staff) and stay 2m distance from any staff or other members of the public
  • On arrival, go to the testing room directly and return home as soon as your test is complete
  • People must not arrive more than five mins ahead of their appointment
  • Be ready to verify your identity and booking reference
  • Bookings can be cancelled via email confirmations.

Reporting local outbreaks or issues

  • In Stoke-on-Trent

Email tracecovid19@stoke.gov.uk or telephone 01782 231222.