City of York Council will be submitting an expression of interest for mass testing to be introduced in York.
At yesterday’s meeting of York’s Outbreak Management Advisory Board (18 November), partners agreed to submit the expression of interest for mass testing, in order to carry out asymptomatic testing of the wider York population.
Partners also agreed to work to extend targeted testing to York care home visitors in time for Christmas, children’s and adult social care workers, the voluntary sector and school children and teachers in bubbles that had reported a positive case.
The submission follows months of lobbying for additional testing capacity in the city, and will complement the existing symptomatic testing in place in the city, in order to slow and stop the spread of Coronavirus in the city. The current limited targeted testing available for outbreak management and care home staff and care home residents will also still continue.
York currently has two testing centres for those who have symptoms of Coronavirus, a drive through at Poppleton Bar and walk-in testing centre on Wentworth Way. These will continue to operate as they are and we would urge anyone with symptoms to self-isolate and ask for a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Chair of the York Outbreak Management Advisory Board and Leader of City of York Council said:
We are delighted that plans to increase the amount of tests we can do in York are progressing.
“Following months of lobbying and working with our partners, I am pleased that we will be submitting our expression of interest for mass testing to be introduced in the city, so we can offer more tests to local residents and help slow the spread of the virus.”
“We are ensuring that additional testing capacity supports a cohesive city-wide strategy to reduce the spread of the virus and are learning from pilot areas to make sure we have the most effective approach possible.
“We will continue to develop these plans as quickly as possible and will keep residents updated as much as we can, including through our regular e-newsletter which residents can sign up to at https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates”
“Once again, I would like to thank everyone in the city for their efforts in slowing the spread of the virus and looking forward, we must not be complacent and continue to follow the public health advice. If you require support, please contact email@example.com or telephone 01904 551550 and we will help in any way we can.”
Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health at City of York Council said:
This is positive news and will help us to identify cases and slow the spread.
“We know how important it is for children to be in school and for relatives to see their loved ones in care homes and we hope that extending targeted testing to more people will improve wellbeing for children and care home residents, particularly as we approach Christmas.
“Thanks to the efforts of everyone in the city we have seen a reduction in the cases in recent weeks. Whilst this is positive news we can’t afford to be complacent and must keep up these efforts. Even with increased testing coming soon we will all need to continue to practice ‘hands, face, space’ and self-isolate when we have symptoms and slow the spread of the virus and keep the people we love safe.”
In York, we also currently have enhanced testing used as targeted testing in places where there has been an outbreak, to test the student population or to regularly test care homes staff and those who work with those most at risk. Universities are also working on offering increased testing to students before they return home for Christmas which will be part of this strategy.
As part of the city’s updated testing strategy, the council will extend this to those who want to visit care homes with more tests for school bubbles affected by a positive case and will share more details on this as soon as possible.
The council will explore how to bring population testing (asymptomatic testing for all residents) to the city and is currently learning from other areas in the country who are piloting population testing to see how it can be used effectively in York, based on available funding.