Covid surge-testing to be offered to anyone in Hyde Park, Headingley, Little London and Woodhouse as case rates hit five times Leeds average

Parts of Leeds seeing a sharp rise in Covd-19 cases will be offered surge testing from next week, Leeds City Council has announced.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 3:30 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 3:51 pm

From Tuesday, June 22, residents in the Hyde Park and Headingley and Little London and Woodhouse areas who are not experiencing symptoms will be encouraged to get a free PCR

test at new pop-up testing centres.

They will be located at Cinder Moor on Woodhouse Lane, the Gryphon Centre at The University of Leeds the Mandela Community Centre in Chapeltown Road.

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Covid-19 testing centre stock photograph for illustrative purposes only.
Covid-19 testing centre stock photograph for illustrative purposes only.

Council officers carrying photo ID will be visiting the parts of both areas where cases have been particularly high next week, explaining the testing process, answering questions

and giving residents the chance to take a test at home.

Headingley and Hyde Park has a case rate of 841.3 per 100,000 people and Little London and Woodhouse’s case rate stands at around 337 per 100,000 people.

That is significantly higher than Leeds’s overall case rate, which is currently is 161.3 per 100,000, which is an increase of more than 91 per cent in the past seven days.

Cases in both areas are particularly high among 18-24 year-olds, who are mostly unvaccinated and who may have been seeing friends and socialising more in recent weeks.

While hospitalisations and deaths in Leeds remain low, cases among over 60s have also shown some increase over the past few weeks, with a current over 60s case rate of 17.4 per

100,000.

The enhanced testing programme is aimed at breaking the chain of infection between age groups and ensuring asymptomatic cases can be traced, treated and isolated before the

virus has the chance to spread.

People will also be reminded to enjoy summer safely by sticking to the rule of six indoors when meeting friends, letting in plenty of fresh air and watching fixtures at the Euros

responsibly and in line with government guidance.

Socialising outdoors in line with government guidance also reduces the risk of spread.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “With this enhanced testing programme, we’re using every tool at our disposal to try and turn the tide of rising cases in both these areas- but we can’t do it alone.

“We know that with the Euros and the recent sunshine, this is an exciting time to get out and about for everyone who has missed seeing their friends and loved ones.

"But we need people living in Headingley and Hyde Park and Little London and Woodhouse to work with us, get a test and help us identify where these COVID cases are so together we can stop the spread and ensure Leeds can carry on enjoying a safe summer.

“By doing so, they will be not only protecting themselves and those close to them, but also those living in their communities who might be particularly vulnerable to the effects of this

dreadful virus.”

The rise in overall cases in Leeds is consistent with other cities, where recent changes to restrictions have meant more social contact and where the Delta variant, which is

considerably more transmissible, has become dominant.

As a result, cases are expected to continue to rise over the coming weeks.

Victoria Eaton, Leeds City Council’s director of Public Health, said: “We are doing everything we can to address the increasing cases, working closely with communities and our local and national partners to prevent and respond to any outbreaks and rising rates.

“Enhanced testing in areas where we are seeing particularly high numbers of cases gives us a chance to break the chain of infection among those who haven’t had a vaccine and

hopefully ensure these higher cases do not translate to increased hospitalisations and deaths in Leeds.

“The vaccine still represents our best chance of beating COVID-19 and thanks to all our efforts, more than 500,000 people in Leeds have now been vaccinated.

"We’d ask that everyone continues to follow the rules and gets their vaccine as soon as they can so we can beat the virus and have a safe summer.”

People in Leeds can also continue playing their part in keeping virus figures down by following the guidance in each individual setting and remembering:

- Contact outdoors is much safer as it this reduces the risk of breathing in infected particles and disperses the virus more easily.

- Continue to wear face coverings when required and maintain social distancing whenever you’re out.

- Get a test and isolate if needed from the community testing sites around the city.

- Find out where to get a test at: https://www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/health/coronavirus/coronavirus-where-to-go-for- testing/

- Wash your hands regularly.

- Get a vaccine when called and continue to follow the rules even if you’ve had the vaccine.

- People aged 50 and over or who have a long term condition or suppressed immune system get vaccinated and ensure you get their second jab so they have the maximum level of protection.

- If you are over 18, you can now get your vaccine. Book via the National Booking System https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or by calling 119.