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Surge testing to be deployed to control spread of covid-19 variant in Ladywood, Jewellery Quarter & Soho Wards | Birmingham City Council

Surge testing to be deployed to control spread of covid-19 variant in Ladywood, Jewellery Quarter & Soho Wards

Published: Friday, 16th April 2021

Extensive surveillance of COVID-19 has identified a small number of cases of the variant first discovered in South Africa, across England, including one in the Ladywood, Jewellery Quarter & Soho ward.

The council is working closely with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to support measures to curb any potential spread of this variant; this will include significantly increasing the testing offer in a targeted and intelligence-led way.

Residents over the age of 16 who are living or working in Ladywood, Jewellery Quarter & Soho wards are strongly encouraged to take part in the door to door testing when offered, even if they are not showing symptoms.

You can see if you need a test using the postcode checker.

There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant is more serious than others, or that the regulated vaccine would not protect against it.

Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space-fresh air and following national guidance, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the variant.

Positive tests will be sequenced to identify any further spread, enabling a better understanding of the variant and identifying if there are any more cases in the area. If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details on their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

If you have coronavirus symptoms you should get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus.

People in these areas should continue using twice-weekly rapid testing alongside the PCR test as part of the surge testing.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for NHS Test and Trace said: “As part of our proactive sequencing work, we have identified cases of a COVID-19 variants in a number of areas across England. A small proportion of these cases have no link to international travel suggesting that there are some cases in the community.

"PHE and NHS Test and Trace are monitoring the situation closely and appropriate public health measures such as increased testing and contact tracing are being put in place where necessary.”

Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, said: “Testing is an important part of containing the spread of the virus. This new variant from South Africa presents a new risk so it is essential that all adults in the affected areas takes up this offer of PCR testing to help us contain the spread quickly and identify any further local cases. There is financial and practical support available for those who test positive and have to isolate and their contacts and it is vital we all play our part in controlling this new challenge.”

For more information and to see various frequently asked questions, please visit our dedicated webpage.