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COVID-19 doorstep testing offer success as case rates continue to fall in the city, and football fans are urged to be cautious

Published: Tuesday, 3rd August 2021

Coronavirus case rates in the city have continued to fall over the past week, bringing the rates well below the England average and West Midlands average.

The first phase of a new COVID-19 doorstep testing offer has also been deemed a success.

Last week, teams from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) visited households in the Joiners Square area of the city to offer residents lateral flow testing kits on their doorsteps in a drive to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the city. Teams visited a total of 205 households in the first phase of the new testing scheme, and handed out a total of 216 lateral flow home testing kits.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “We are thrilled that the first stage of our new doorstep testing offer was successful. We received positive comments from residents who accepted the kits, and the teams managed to dodge the thunderstorms and stay dry, despite the huge area that they covered! This part of our COVID-19 testing scheme is all about taking testing directly to people and being able to have informative conversations with residents, and to continue to raise awareness of the importance of testing. Our teams have been out in the Sneyd Green area of the city this week, and next Wednesday (11 August) they are set to be visiting households in the Etruria and Hanley areas. Next Tuesday (10 August), there will also be pop-up testing centre for people without COVID-19 symptoms in Tunstall Park, between 11am and 3pm. Please do go along if you’re passing by or have any questions about testing – our teams are there to help you.

“We know that since the school holidays began, testing rates in the city are noticeably lower. We were consistently seeing around 35,000-36,000 tests taking place a day, up to the middle of July, but are more recently seeing around 26,000-27,000 tests being conducted. We know that many families will be operating outside of their usual routines during school holidays, but we want to remind residents that testing for COVID-19 regularly – at least twice a week – and recording their results will help drive down our positivity rates and will give us the best picture of COVID-19 rates in the city. There are several ways residents can access tests easily, such as through booking an appointment at one of our community testing centres or collecting them from venues across the city.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 case rates in the city continue to fall, with rates being below the averages for England and the West Midlands. The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 262.5 per 100,000 people, for the week 23 July – 29 July 2021. This is a 41.2 per cent decrease on the previous seven days. The positivity rate or the percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 8.1 per cent. Cases are widespread across the city, with hotspot areas in Etruria and Hanley.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see our case rates dropping and I’d like to thank everybody in the city for making this happen. Our figures show that we are now well below the England average -292 cases per 100,000 people, and the West Midlands average -270 cases per 100,000 people. We are 103rd highest local authority (LA) in the country – and it’s important to note how far we’ve come since the beginning of the year when at one point in February we were the second highest LA in the country, and in early July we were 27th highest.  Again, this demonstrates fantastic progress made, and it’s all down to us all doing our bit. The positivity rate is also down from 13.9 per cent to 8.1 per cent in a week, and that is largely due to people responding well to the message to get tested.

“We’ve seen before how quickly cases can increase, so it’s important we keep up with the brilliant progress made, and keep testing regularly, follow Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air Guidance, and get your vaccines as soon as you are eligible to. Over the past week, women who are pregnant, think they might be pregnant, or who are trying for a baby have been urged to come forward for their jabs- I want to reassure women who fall into any of these categories in Stoke-on-Trent that the vaccine is safe for you and your baby to have, and that it is your best protection against COVID-19.”

Football fans are also being urged to stay safe and cautious as many will be eagerly awaiting the start of the new season at the weekend and visiting stadiums. Locally, Stoke City FC start their season at home to Reading on Saturday, and Port Vale have two home games the following week, against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup next Tuesday and in the league against Tranmere next Saturday.

Councillor Brown added: “Many of us are looking forward to the football season and we know that many residents will be attending home games in our city or going to other cities to watch games. We know that there was a clear spike in cases in the two weeks after the Euros finals last month, and we want people to be able to enjoy the games but also be conscious of their own health and wellbeing and that of others.

“We know our clubs will be supporting fans, but taking personal responsibility for your health and to help protect others is really important. Practising Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air, wearing a face covering in indoor, crowded places such as public transport, taking a lateral flow test before attending a match to make sure you aren’t infected with COVID-19, and getting your first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, will all help protect yourselves and others.

“We want football fans to enjoy being back in the stadiums, but we also don’t want people becoming poorly with the virus as it is still out there and people are still being treated in hospital for it. We can all play our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

-Ends-

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

www.stoke.gov.uk/news

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