27 Jan 2022

St Helens residents encouraged to keep Covid testing as Plan B measures end

 Local residents in St Helens are being urged to keep testing regularly for Covid-19 as national Plan B restrictions have now come to an end.

Although infection rates in the borough have fallen slightly in recent weeks, the number of positive cases remains high, with 1371 new cases recorded alone in the week up to January 22nd, with overall case rates at 759 per 100,000 people.

In addition infection rates in local schools and nurseries are still very high, with positive cases amongst 0 -17 year olds the highest amongst any age group in the borough, with rising numbers of teaching staff in schools also testing positive for the virus.

To help limit further rises in infections, local residents are being encouraged to keep Covid testing, twice a week ideally, particularly if they have families or are planning to visit vulnerable or elderly relatives in the near future.

Residents are also being asked to get their Covid vaccinations , particularly booster vaccinations as this can give the best defence against the more infectious Omicron variant of the virus.

Younger people aged 12 years and upwards are also being urged to get their Covid vaccinations as soon as possible, with first and second vaccinations now available to many children in the borough at school during normal school hours.

Anyone aged 12 and over can now access their first or second vaccinations and if you are aged 18 or over and had your second dose at least three months ago (91 days) you can also now book your booster vaccination as well.

To book an appointment at your nearest vaccination centre, visit Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

The Mass Vaccination Centre and the Allied pharmacy site both based at the Saints Stadium in St Helens currently have capacity for walk-ins for both first, second and booster jabs.

Walk in appointments are also available subject to availability at Hollowood Chemists Vaccination Centre, West End Road, Haydock and Allied Pharmacies at Bold Industrial Estate. For more details on vaccination walk in sessions visit : https://www.sthelensccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-information/covid-19-vaccine-walk-in-sessions/


Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: “The easing of some restrictions this week may bring some increased freedoms for us all but it is clear that if we are to keep bringing infection levels down locally then we must all be cautious in the weeks ahead and keep testing.

“Infection levels in our schools in the borough remain very high and it is particularly important that families and younger people in particular continue to test regularly to help reduce this spread.  

“We would also advise that if you are using public transport or visiting any busy indoor areas such as shops that you do continue to wear a face mask if possible. The virus can transmit very easily in these environments so do take that precaution if you can.

“We would also advise everyone to get all their Covid-19 vaccinations if you have not already done so take the opportunity to get your booster or other Covid vaccinations as soon as possible. You should also try to get the flu vaccination as well if you are eligible.”

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which runs Whiston, St Helens and Newton Hospitals has announced that face coverings and one metre distancing will remain mandatory for anyone entering their hospital buildings as are all GP surgeries for anyone attending for face to face appointments.

Further details are available online by visiting the NHS at Coronavirus (COVID-19) booster vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

You can find out more about how to get a symptom free test or where to get a PCR test if you have one of these symptoms – a high temperature, or a new, continuous cough, or a loss of sense of smell or taste – at www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested 

If you need to isolate and need advice or support contact St Helens Together on 01744 676767