A staggering 20,521 tests were completed as part of the Conservative-led council’s surge testing programme, which took place between Monday 7 and Sunday 20 June, helping to identify 60 positive Covid-19 cases which may have otherwise been missed.
The activity was targeted to residents with no symptoms who were living, working or studying in Bulmershe & Whitegates, Evendons, Norreys and Wescott. These wards were chosen due to having higher rates of Covid-19, and the council took a proactive approach to ensure as many people could get tested as possible:
- Postcards were sent to over 34,000 households across the four target wards, sign-posting residents to information on test centre locations
- Council teams visited 14,441 residential properties to raise awareness, engaging with 8,988 residents
- 654 registered vulnerable adults were visited, plus an addition 544 visits to others in supported and sheltered living, with home testing kits arranged where necessary
- 33 families were visited by the council’s Children’s Services team
Supporting schools and businesses
In addition to this, the council arranged delivery of 3,773 test kits to 29 schools, and nurseries and pre-schools, in the affected wards, with 2,816 tests taken in total.
Businesses were also targeted, with 4,023 test kits supplied to 179 organisations, including shops, offices and warehouses. 417 businesses with five employees or less were referred to surge testing centres.
Commitment to stopping the spread
Conservative Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult social care said: “The response to our surge testing programme has been nothing short of incredible. Nationally, the uptake amongst residents has been around 20-30%, but in Wokingham Borough, well over 50% of people living, working or studying in the affected wards came forward for a test. This truly demonstrates everyone’s commitment to stopping the spread of the virus and keeping each other safe - we are very grateful for this.
“A huge amount of effort went into planning this activity in a very short space of time, so we’re also thankful for the work of our teams in pulling it all together. So far, the data tells us that 60 positive Delta variant cases have been identified; without surge testing these may have otherwise gone unfound, causing a further spread in the community.”
On top of the council’s successful surge testing programme, it also worked with NHS partners to organise a surge vaccination site in Bulmershe Leisure Centre from Tuesday 15 June to Sunday 27 June. During this time, a staggering 4,000 over 18s were vaccinated.
“Thank you to everyone who came forward for their first or second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at our walk-in site”, said Cllr Margetts. “It was fantastic to see so many young adults stepping up and playing their part, as this is one of the best defences against the virus.
“With everyone over the age of 18 now eligible, it’s very important that people take up the offer. Remember, you need two doses for maximum protection, and you can easily book and manage your appointments through the NHS website.”