I would once again like to say thank you to the people of Rotherham for all your efforts in helping to contain the spread of coronavirus infection.
Before I explain our revised testing strategy, I want to remind you that the virus has not gone away; Rotherham does have high infection rates and these rates are not falling as fast as we would like.
The best thing that people can do is to still follow the guidelines to control the virus and stay safe. The guidelines are:
- Keep your distance from people not in your household (two metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
- Wear a face covering on all public transport, in hospitals and in shops.
Intelligence-led Testing Strategy
Over the past week we have seen a tremendous community response from people coming forward to get tested at the two Mobile Testing Units (MTU’s) set up in the Borough. This additional testing is part of our Intelligence-led Testing Strategy which is in place because Rotherham has community transmission of the virus. This means the infection is wide-spread and we can’t yet identify any places or communities where infections are raised. The data being collected from testing will help us to find any pockets of concern so that we can be more targeted with our response.
As part of this next phase of the plan, we are now asking that anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are very mild, or anyone who has cause for concern that they have been in contact with someone with the virus, to get tested.
Please remember that you must book an appointment to get tested at the MTUs at Herringthorpe Playing Fields and Midland Road old bus depot. The appointment system is essential to ensure the sites have enough testing kits for those people who have booked.
To book a test, you can visit the NHS website. You can only use the 119 number to book if you have symptoms.
We are also working with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to secure a walk-up Local Test Site to increase access to testing for people who do not have a car.
I said last week that with the increase in testing we will find more people with the infection. This in turn will be reflected in the published figures. You should not be alarmed by this as it is to be expected and it tells us that we are beginning to get an accurate picture of where the virus is within our community. Once we have this picture we can work with local people and organisations to help control it.
My results say I am negative what should I do?
If your result is negative this only means that you tested negative on the day of the test. It does not mean you can take your eye off the ball; you must still follow the guidance about keeping yourself safe and others too.
I tested positive what do I need to do?
If you have been tested positive, you will need to self-isolate for seven days and anyone who lives with you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Wearing a face covering is one of the ways to control infection rates and keep people safe.
Remember, face coverings should cover both the nose and mouth. It is so important that we wash or clean our hands before putting on and removing face coverings. They are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.
Here are some useful instructions on how to make a face covering.
Let us continue to be kind to one another and stay safe.
For up to date and accurate information I recommend you use the following two sites to keep yourselves informed: