By KLTV Newsdesk –
Kirklees Council has announced that they are submitting proposals to work with central government to bring in extra vaccination and testing capacity.
The news comes as Kirklees’ infection rate remains one of the highest in the country, and cases of the ‘Indian’ variant of Covid-19 continue to rise.
Increased capacity for vaccine uptake will mainly take the form of more pop-up clinics in areas where they are needed most, in order to reduce infection rates and protect local people.
The goal, the council says, is to increase the number of people eligible to be vaccinated and boost capacity in areas where uptake is lower.
Initiatives such as Lateral Flow Testing, which enables residents to test themselves at home and receive a result quickly, will continue to be utilised, and the council says staff will continue to talk to local people and businesses about how best to reduce the spread of infection.
PCR testing on close contacts of those who tested positive for the Indian variant is also taking place.
For the time being, businesses and venues are being encouraged to reopen safely as the ongoing roadmap out of lockdown continues.
The council continues to encourage everyone to play their part in keeping infections rates down.
Speeding Up Delivery
In a statement, Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Strategic Director for Public Health at Kirklees Council, said: “We are submitting proposals today to work with government to bring in extra vaccination and testing capacity. We have positive levels of vaccine uptake in Kirklees but, by speeding up its delivery and adding more pop-up clinics where they’re needed most, we can reduce infection rates and protect local people.
“This support will help us to build on what the council, NHS and partner organisations are already doing. Ultimately, we want to be able to increase the number of people eligible to be vaccinated and boost our capacity in parts of the borough where vaccine uptake is lower.
“Kirklees was one of the first local authorities to introduce Lateral Flow Testing for everyone in the community and local people have played their part enthusiastically in protecting themselves, their families and their neighbours. I’m confident residents will take part in additional testing which is essential in reducing transmission.”
“As we’ve been reporting in recent weeks, our infection rate is one of the highest in the country and is rising. We’re already doing a lot to try to bring our infection rate down. Currently, council staff are out in the community talking to local people and businesses every day about how they can play their part to reduce the spread of the infection.”
‘Play Our Part’
Ms Spencer-Henshall added that thousands of residents are taking part in community testing every week and that local contact tracing is helping to contain the spread of the virus.
She added: “Whilst deaths and hospitalisations related to the virus remain at a low level in Kirklees, we have to make sure our infection rate does not continue to increase and lead to this changing.
“It’s difficult to know why our infection rate is as high as it is, but we do know how to prevent the virus from spreading because it remains the same. We all need to play our part so we can get Kirklees through the roadmap out of lockdown safely.
“Please all continue to wash your hands well and often, wear a face covering and make sure you’re social distancing when you’re out. Please also remember that it’s so much safer outdoors if you are meeting with people from outside your household for any reason.
“Increasing ventilation when you are indoors with people you do not live with is important too. Getting tested regularly is another way to keep our community safe.”
‘Every Vaccination Matters’
Ms Spencer-Henshall also encouraged residents to take the vaccine when it is available to them, adding: “It doesn’t matter how young or healthy you are, Covid-19 still presents a risk and the vaccine protects not just you, but those around you too. Every vaccination matters. This is our main and most sustainable route back to normality.
“We’ve got good vaccine take-up in Kirklees and we’re already filling any gaps through pop-up vaccination clinics and new workplace vaccinations. That’s why we will be asking the Government to support us in getting the vaccine out to more of our population as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, anyone over the age of 36 can get a vaccination and I strongly encourage you to book yours now if you’re eligible.”