Cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 has been confirmed in Leek.
The news comes after several suspected variant cases of the virus were found at a number of schools in the area. A total of 19 of these cases have now been confirmed as a Variant of Concern (VOC).
As a result, Staffordshire County Council has put on more testing in the town to help discover more cases and control any outbreak.
Extra testing has been put on at St Edward’s Church of England Academy School today, tomorrow, Friday and Saturday. Leek High School will also be hosting testing tomorrow and Friday.
Sites will be open from 9.30am, and more than 300 appointments are available at these sites on a first come, first served basis.
Added to this, a national testing centre will be available at Leek Britannia HQ, ST13 5RL from tomorrow until Saturday 12 June. Appointments will need to be booked through the national site.
Staffordshire County Council is urging families with links to all schools in Leek to get a PCR test, as well as staff and customers who visited the Three Horseshoes Country Inn & Spa, Buxton Road between 24-26 May, and the Black Lion pub, Hollow Lane Cheddleton, between 22-23 May.
To date, 31 confirmed positive cases have been found in the town, and almost 1000 pupils and staff from St Edward’s, Leek High and Westwood College are self-isolating. One of these cases has today been confirmed as the Variant of Concern (VOC) first identified in India.
Dr Johnny McMahon, Cabinet Support Member for Public Health said: “These are precautionary tests to see if the virus has spread in the community. The cases are still relatively low, but we need to do everything we can to keep them as low as possible. We have seen elsewhere in the country how quickly this particular variant can spread, so it is vitally important that everyone who has been asked to get a test does so as soon as they can.”
Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire County Council’s Director for Health and Care said: “Getting an idea of how the virus has spread in the town is crucial if we are to contain this outbreak. Therefore we’re asking everyone to get tested as soon as possible.
“The PCR tests will be sent for genotyping, which will tell us if we have any further cases of this particular variant. The more people we test, the better idea we will have of the spread, and the more we can do to stop it spreading further.
“We are also urging people to keep following the rules of hands, face, space and fresh air, continue to get tested regularly—ideally twice a week—and get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.”
Staffordshire County Council also has a dedicated Covid-19 information line on 0300 111 8050.