Five new walk-in sites open in Blackburn as testing stepped up in bid to halt rising Covid cases
Five new mobile testing sites have opened in Blackburn as new data shows the Indian Covid-19 variant now accounts for more than 90 per cent of new cases.
The East Lancashire borough has recently overtaken Bolton as England’s top Covid hotspot area as cases rise in parts of the north-west region amid concerns over the spread of the Indian variant.
The rate in Blackburn with Darwen currently stands at 436.2 cases per 100,000 people, with 653 new cases in the seven days to May 28.
This is up from 303.3 in the seven days to May 21.
Bolton in Greater Manchester has the second highest rate, down from 452.8 to 375.2, with 1,079 new cases.
Rossendale in Lancashire has the third highest, up from 113.3 to 312.0, with 223 new cases.
People without symptoms who live, work or study in areas with BB1 and BB2 postcodes in Blackburn with Darwen are asked to take a Covid PCR test at any of its five new mobile testing units.
Surge testing teams from the council are also knocking on doors in some areas of Blackburn to hand out PCR test kits, with staff returning later to collect.
The borough's director of public health, Professor Dominic Harrison, said: "We think that Blackburn with Darwen is around seven to 10 days behind Bolton in terms of rising rates, so it’s encouraging to see their infection rate starting to decline.
"With all of the engagement work and surge testing that we are doing in the areas of Blackburn where we first identified cases of the Variant of Concern, we are hopeful that in the next week or so we can take control of our case rates too.
"We know that this variant is around 30-50% more transmissible than the previous UK variant. Over 90 percent of new Covid cases in Blackburn with Darwen are now likely to be the VOC-21APR-02 variant (the B.1.617.2, or Indian variant).
"Asymptomatic testing will help us to control transmission further.
"The more we test, the quicker we can tackle any outbreaks, support people to self-isolate and bring the figures down."
Residents can get a PCR test at one of five new mobile testing sites in Blackburn:
- Ewood Park (outside the Darwen End) - open 7 days from 10am to 5pm, until Sun 13 June
- Bangor Street Community Centre car park - open 7 days from 12pm to 6pm, until Sun 13 June
- Corporation Park gatehouse - open 7 days from 10am to 3pm, until Sun 13 June
- Charlotte Street car park - open 7 days from 12pm to 6pm, until Sun 13 June
- Pleasington playing fields – open weekdays during June from 10am to 3pm
The mobile testing units are for people without symptoms to get PCR tests.
Appointments are not needed as all these sites are walk-up centres.
Please remember to wear a face covering when you attend for a test and maintain social distancing.
People with Covid symptoms should not go to theses mobile testing sites.
Instead they should use the testing facilities at Royal Blackburn Hospital, on the Blackburn College car park and on Railway Road car park in Darwen.
The Council continues to encourage all residents to also regularly take rapid lateral flow tests, to 'Test & Go' before meeting up with friends, visiting relatives, going shopping and so on.
This includes residents who live in the BB1 and BB2 postcode areas.
Find out more about Coronavirus testing in Blackburn with Darwen by clicking HERE.
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