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Stay Covid-safe during the Euros, as pop-up testing continues to score successes

Published: Thursday, 10th June 2021

Residents who are set to enjoy the UEFA European Championship starting this weekend, are being urged to continue to carry out lateral flow tests and stay Covid-safe.

The football tournament starts on Friday (11 June), with England playing their first game against Croatia at 2pm on Sunday (13 June), in what is expected to be another warm and sunny day.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leaders are reminding residents and businesses of the public health rules so that the tournament can be enjoyed safely.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “We know that football fans have been waiting an extra 12 months for the Euros because of the national lockdown last year, so we want everyone to be able to enjoy the tournament, and to do so safely.

“Our public protection teams are continuing to work with venues such as pubs across the city to ensure they are operating in a Covid-secure way. They are continuing to advise venue owners and event organisers on the rules and regulations in place, to ensure staff and visitors are as safe as possible. As always, we will look into any concerns that are raised and take the appropriate action. Our Covid stewards are also working alongside public protection and CCTV teams and are out and about in the city, offering advice and guidance on compliance with Covid guidelines.”

The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 19.9 per 100,000 people, for the week 28 May – 3 June 2021. This is an increase of 4.1 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 0.7 per cent. Although cases are still spread widely across the city, places where there are higher levels of community transmission include the Moorcroft ward, and residents here should consider booking a test.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “We have a small increase in cases on the previous seven days, and we are continuing to monitor this very closely. We’re urging residents to do a lateral flow test on the morning of any day when they are going to a football event or anything where there might be larger than normal crowds. It just helps us all to keep safe if people can take a few minutes to do that in addition to their normal weekly tests. Stoke-on-Trent remains one of the best areas in the West Midlands for people getting tested and we can’t thank residents enough for doing this – our high testing rate is one of the reasons why the cases of coronavirus in the city are staying low at present.

“Like many other people, I’ll eagerly be watching the football, but we must all remember the health rules: currently you can meet up in groups of up to six people or as two households, indoors or outdoors. Please practise Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air where you can, to help lower the risk of transmitting Covid-19, and keep getting tested at least twice a week - remember that not everybody is vaccinated, and even if you have had your vaccine, you can still spread the virus.

“If you are going for a weekend away or a day out and using public transport, please remember to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering unless you are exempt. If a train or a pub is looking particularly crowded, please use your own personal judgement and leave if you don’t feel safe.”

Meanwhile, the council’s pop-up enhanced community testing scheme is continuing to prove popular and is heading to another new location. Health teams from Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust will be in Burslem Market Place in the town centre between 1.30pm-5.30pm on Thursday and Friday (10 and 11 June), and residents are being encouraged to visit.

Councillor Brown said: “This enhanced scheme means we can target very specific communities, and give residents advice about testing, help them to do lateral flow tests there and then, hand out home testing kits and explain how they are used.

“It follows the success of testing in Hanley Park two weeks ago, and Longton Market and Longton Park last week. At Longton Market, over 400 home testing kits were given out and over 340 kits were given out at Longton Park. This is a fantastic number and means that residents are benefiting from more than 5,100 lateral flow tests. Our Covid stewards have been out and about helping to promote the pop-up testing centres, so if you do see them, please say hello.”

The council has joined with voluntary organisation VAST to launch a new scheme to recruit volunteer Community Health Champions across Stoke-on-Trent.

Community Health Champions will share clear and accurate health information with others and most importantly, they will listen to and help to answer people’s concerns about the coronavirus, and other health matters. They must be local adults who ideally have established links to communities within Stoke-on-Trent and are keen to improve people’s health and wellbeing in the city.

Councillor Brown said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have seen how quickly news spreads and influences our decisions. There has been a lot of misinformation about the coronavirus and we know that this has impacted the way people make decisions around protective measures such as testing, vaccinations and self-isolation. Our Community Health Champions will be providing residents all across the city with trustworthy advice and guidance, not only in relation to the coronavirus, but to help with other health and wellbeing issues people may be experiencing. Most importantly, our champions will listen to the needs of our communities and communicate vital messages in a way that is accessible to them.

“We’re keen to hear from anybody over the age of 18 who would be interested in really getting to know our communities and to help improve the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

Zi Khumalo, Community Health Champions Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “The champions’ biggest role is around helping the community understand what is involved in their health and wellbeing. There are a lot of messages that come down from government, and sometimes it feels as though it is not meant for us because it’s not written in the language that we use. It doesn’t mention our locality. So it’s quite easy for that information to be dismissed. The role of the champions is to communicate information at a very local level, in a way that people are most likely to receive it.

“Listening to somebody who speaks like you, telling you about something that is going to be helpful for you, that makes you more likely to take notice, because actually, yeah, that does apply to me, because my neighbour’s talking about it, or that lady down the road is talking about it.”

Community Health Champions will be fully trained and supported through VAST. The role is flexible and you can volunteer whenever you have time. For more information and to apply to become a champion, please visit https://chc.vast.org.uk/community-health-champion-role/

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For all media enquiries only please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.

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