Surge testing ends in Kirklees after “outstanding” local response

Kirklees Council is thanking the thousands of local people who have taken part in surge testing over the last four weeks, with the programme helping to identify and isolate 472 asymptomatic positive Covid-19 cases in total.

Local people who have had to self-isolate may now also be eligible for increased financial support of up to £1,000 as part of a Government pilot taking place in Kirklees. Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.

Surge and enhanced testing began in Kirklees on 26 May 2021 and ended on 22 June 2021, with council staff knocking on people’s doors in areas across the borough with the highest rates of infection and populations most likely to become seriously ill if infected with Covid-19. A number of mobile testing units were also set up in these areas.

This was introduced in Kirklees due to high – and rising – infection rates and cases of the Delta variant. PCR tests were used for surge testing because positive results can be sent to specialist laboratories where they can identify variants of concern, and see where they have spread.

Between 26 May and 22 June 2021, around 4,500 PCR tests were hand delivered and returned in the following areas; Westtown and Dewsbury Moor, Birkenshaw and Gomersal, Ravensthorpe, Heckmondwike and Liversedge, Savile Town and Thornhill Lees and Batley. In total, 80 people tested positive and self-isolated as a result.

2,500 asymptomatic tests were also taken at testing sites in these areas, with 230 positive cases detected.

During the same period, we worked with five high schools to test pupils and their households. In total we handed out around 7,000 PCR test kits. In total we identified 162 positives.

These are cases that would have otherwise gone undetected. Kirklees Council is thanking local people for taking part in surge testing and helping to keep local people safe.

With additional funding from Government, Kirklees Council is providing an increased offer of financial support, of up to £1,000, to help individuals who have, or will need to, self-isolate from 26 May 2021. You can make a claim up to 42 days after the first day of your period of self-isolation. This is part of a Government pilot.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council, said: “The response we’ve had to surge testing in Kirklees has been absolutely outstanding. I’d like to thank every resident who has played their part and taken a PCR test to help control the spread of the virus in our communities and protect local people.

“This testing has allowed us to identify people positive Covid-19 cases in people who aren’t showing any symptoms and isolate them so we can prevent any further spread of the virus.

“Infection rates in Kirklees remain high, but without this great effort from local people we may be in a worse position than we currently are.

“There are a number of local people who have had to self-isolate in Kirklees in recent weeks and we know a lot of the time that this can come at a cost. People shouldn’t suffer financially for doing the right thing and protecting their communities. So we’re really happy that the Government has agreed to provide extra funding to support Kirklees residents as part of a pilot.

“We are working in partnership with the NHS to continue to set up pop-up vaccination centres across the borough for everyone aged 18 or over to make it even easier for local people to take the vaccine.

“The vaccine rollout is continuing to be a big success in Kirklees and the more people that take it, the safer we all are and the sooner we can get back to normality. Anyone aged 18 and over in Kirklees can book their vaccination now. Every single vaccination makes a huge difference. It may not just save your life, but someone else’s too.

“It’s really important, that even when you have received your vaccine, that you continue to do the basics: hands, face, space as well as letting plenty of fresh air indoors.

“Getting a twice-weekly lateral flow test is a really effective way we can all prevent the spread of the virus. This is really important even if you have been vaccinated.

“Thank you all for playing your part.”