Extensive surveillance of Covid-19 has identified a small number of cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant that originated in India in Wokingham Borough, that cannot be traced back to international travel.
As such, surge testing will be deployed in the following council wards between Monday 7 June and Monday 21 June: Bulmershe and Whitegates, Evendons, Norreys, and Wescott.
All cases are now self-isolating and the council has conducted robust contact tracing to identify their contacts and ask them to self-isolate.
The council is urging residents over the age of 12 who are living, working, or going to school in these areas to come forward for a Covid-19 test over the next 14 days provided if they are not showing symptoms and even if they have already been vaccinated.
How to get a test
- Residents in these areas can get a Covid-19 test at one of Wokingham Borough Council’s dedicated testing sites – there is no need to book and all information on where sites are located is available at: www.wokingham.gov.uk/surge-testing
- Schools and businesses in these areas will be contacted by the council to arrange delivery of testing kits for pupils and staff
- If you have coronavirus symptoms you should continue to book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or via the NHS Covid-19 app
Testing will, in combination with measures such as hands-face-space and fresh air, following national guidance, self-isolating when required and getting vaccinated when eligible, help to suppress and control the spread of the virus and new variants.
Infection rates are rising
Meradin Peachey, Director of Public Health for Berkshire West said: “We have been monitoring the situation very closely and now need residents in these areas to come forward for a test. You should do this even if you’ve had the Covid-19 vaccine as you can still catch and spread the virus.
"Infection rates are rising across the borough and this variant is much more transmissible. The more cases we find, the better chance we have at suppressing it.
“Please help to keep your community and loved ones safe by getting tested. You should also continue to follow the guidance that is in place – limit your number of contacts, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face.
"If you test positive by any method, you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus. If you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive you must also self-isolate.”
Identifying any further spread
Positive tests with a high enough viral load will be sequenced to identify any further spread, enabling a better understanding of the variant and identifying if there are any more cases of this particular strand of the virus in the area.
If someone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details on their contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor for NHS Test and Trace said: “As part of our proactive sequencing work, we have identified cases of 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.
“Public Health England 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 wherenecessary.”
Same national guidance
The same national guidance continues to apply in areas where new variants have been identified and education settings can remain open. Twice weekly rapid testing should continue in educational settings; and adults who do not have symptoms should continue to access regular, rapid Covid-19 tests.
For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit the Wokingham Borough Council website: www.wokingham.gov.uk/surge-testing