By Leah Conway –
Last week, on 22 June, surge testing in Kirklees came to a close, but how successful was surge testing throughout the borough?
Kirklees Council is thanking the thousands of Kirklees residents and workers who took part in surge testing. The local response has been called “outstanding.” Here’s a look at the official surge testing statistics in Kirklees.
The programme identified 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.
The new support scheme is part of a Government pilot taking place in Kirklees. Apply for ‘Test and Trace Support Payment’ here.
A month of surge testing
After consistently being one of the highest infected areas in the UK, surge and enhanced testing began in Kirklees on 26 May 2021.
It involved 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.
There was also a number of mobile testing units that were set up in local areas. Concern increased due to the increasing infection rates and cases of the Delta variant.
How successful was surge testing?
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
- Savile Town
- Thornhill Lees
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. These tests detected a further 230 positive cases.
Surge testing & Schools
During the same period, Kirklees Council worked with five high schools to test pupils and their households.
The council handed out an estimate of 7,000 PCR test kits. Out of which 162 positive cases were identified, which would have otherwise gone undetected.
As part of a pilot scheme the Government-funded Kirklees Council to provide increased financial support of up to £1000. The funding will help individuals who have self-isolated or will need to self-isolate dating from 26 May 2021 onwards.
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.”
Big vaccination weekend
The outstanding turnout for surge testing in Kirklees is part of a borough-wide effort to keep the rate of infection under control. Another significant effort was the ‘Big Vaccination Weekend’. There was a huge urge for people to get their vaccines. Kirklees Council and the NHS organised drop in and walk-in sessions across the borough. It included a huge tent in St George’s Square for drop in vaccinations.