Following the announcements by the Prime Minister that the country is adapting to living with COVID-19 the network of free testing in England is ending.
Over the last 15 months, thousands of tests have been carried out across the district, and many thousands of people were protected from the virus by those who isolated to combat the spread of this highly infectious disease.
As the UK progresses to the new phase of living with COVID-19, Wakefield Council has announced the forthcoming closure of all COVID-19 testing sites in the district and thanked staff for the work they have undertaken.
Since they opened over 91,853 PCR tests have been conducted at the mobile testing units.
The testing centres at Wakefield Westgate and Castleford Baths carried out 62,714 PCR tests.
Wakefield Council’s Director of Public Health, Anna Hartley said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the incredible testing teams who’ve worked at these sites throughout the pandemic.
“The Wakefield district will forever be grateful for your dedication and the hard work you all carried out to protect our communities over the last fifteen months.”
The in-person and mobile testing sites were set up across the district during the height of the pandemic but following the release of the Government’s Living with COVID-19 plan they will close by Wednesday 30 March, in line with the directive from Central Government.
The district’s mobile testing units are operating their final sessions at the following locations:
• Wakefield Sports and Social Club:
Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 March.
• Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, South Elmsall:
Wednesday 30 March only.
• Wakefield Trinity RLFC:
Tuesday 29 March.
Residents will still be able to collect free Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) and order them online until 31 March.
From 1 April, free LFTs will no longer be available to the public or businesses.
Free testing will be available to some professionals including the social care workforce, NHS staff, and high-risk groups such as those with weakened immune systems.
Since they were made available 22,931 individual LFT tests have been conducted and 160,496 LFT devices have been handed out across the district in home testing kits.
Anna Hartley added: “I’m sure for many people the closure of these testing sites may feel like the end of the pandemic but that’s not the case. We are continuing with protection measures and taking action as the virus is rising again within some of our local communities.
“We are moving into a new era of how we can safely live alongside COVID-19, and I ask everyone to remain cautious and mindful of the virus.
“This highly infectious disease is still present in the district, and testing will certainly still be a part of everyday life moving forward – we’ll just access the tests differently than we have done before.”
The latest information on COVID-19 in the district is published on the Wakefield Council website.
To book a COVID-19 test (up until the 30 March 2022) or to order a home test kit, visit the NHS website.
Guidance to residents continues to be:
- – Have all doses of the vaccine and the booster, without delay. There are a range of walk-in sessions available, find out more here.
- – Anyone who starts to feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home, get tested, and limit contact with other people. – Follow current public health advice about how long to stay at home
- – People who feel unwell should not share their germs. The advice is to stay at home until they feel better.
- – Practice good hand hygiene – washing hands with soap and water is one of the best protections from COVID-19 and other viruses.
- – Care for others by wearing a face covering in all indoor public venues and on public transport.
- – Meet people outdoors or in well-ventilated places, and in smaller numbers.