Mobile testing unit to open at Southport theatre as SA variant search widens

9th February 2021

Sefton Council has confirmed that from Wednesday 10th February an additional dedicated Mobile Testing Unit will open at Southport’s Theatre and Convention Centre as part of the programme to detect the South African variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Targeted testing to identify the variant is well underway in Southport’s Norwood ward where the first case was identified. Further testing will be starting in town centre areas of the Cambridge and Dukes wards, where the Council was notified of a second, apparently unrelated historic case.

Everyone aged 16 or over within the target areas are urged to get a test.

Door-to-door delivery and collection of home testing kits will start being rolled out across the Cambridge and Dukes areas from Thursday 11th February. In addition, a team will be visiting the four schools in the area affected before they break up for next week’s half-term holiday.

Opening hours for the Mobile Testing Unit at Theatre and Convention Centre on the town’s Promenade will initially be 10am to 5pm. The unit at the former Kew park-and-ride site in the Norwood ward is open 8am to 6.30pm. Both are open seven days a week and are specifically for people within the target areas who don’t have any coronavirus symptoms.

Teams visiting addresses within the target areas will deliver home testing and, where possible, will wait while people test themselves. Anyone calling with one of these tests will carry clear identification. They will not ask for any money or request anyone’s financial details and neither will they enter people’s homes.

Andrea Watts, Sefton Council’s Executive Director for People, who has been coordinating the testing arrangements said:

“Once again, since having been informed about the second, apparently unrelated case of the variant, we have moved quickly to put testing arrangements in place for the extended areas in Southport.

“I am pleased to confirm we will be getting underway tomorrow with the Mobile Testing Unit at the Theatre and Convention Centre or ‘Floral Hall’ as local people may know it and the door-to-door delivery of home testing kits to homes and businesses in the areas will start on Thursday.

“I would like to thank people living and working in the Norwood area for how enthusiastically they have reacted to the news about the South African variant and their willing participation in this important testing programme. I am confident that people in the two new wards identified will work with us just as positively.”

The Council has been reminding people to protect themselves and others by sticking to the national lockdown regulations and staying home, both within the target areas for the South African variant and across the rest of the Borough.

People should only be going out for essential purposes such as shopping for essential supplies, going to work if we can’t do so from home, providing care and their daily exercise. Those in the variant testing areas could got for a test at a Mobile Unit as part of their daily walk.

While out, people should be keeping to 2-metres’ distancing, wearing a mask or face covering while out and washing their hands frequently.

Sefton Council is also encouraging anyone living or working in the Borough who is offered a COVID-19 vaccination to take up the opportunity and go along for their jab and benefit from the protection it will provide. And it is reminding people aged 70 and over that if they have not yet been vaccinated against Covid and want to be, they should contact the NHS to arrange a jab.