Stone residents urged to get tested for Covid-19 as South Africa variant identified

Thursday February 11, 2021

The first case of the South African variant of Covid-19, with no links to international travel, has been identified in Staffordshire after a resident tested positive in January 2021.

The individual has now recovered and contact tracing has established that the resident had no known contact with people in their local area whilst infectious and no links to other areas where cases have been identified.

Staffordshire County Council is already encouraging everyone who needs to be out and about during lockdown to get tested, but this advice has now been revised to say that everyone in the Stafford borough area should get tested in the next four weeks as the health authority looks for more cases in the borough.

Dr Nic Coetzee, from Public Health England Midlands, said with new variants “emerging all the time and spreading more rapidly”, it was “not surprising” a South African variant case had been found in the county.

“While there is currently no evidence of the South African variant circulating in the community, we want to be proactive in testing people and stopping the spreading of infection,” he added.

Staffordshire County Council has asked anyone “out and about during lockdown” to get tested at least weekly.

Dr Richard Harling, director of health and care, said any positive tests would be routinely screened for the South Africa variant.

Community Testing Centres are open seven days a week for people without symptoms. Walk-in testing without appointment is available on the day or people can book in advance at Welcome to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Test Sites Appointment System (zipporah.co.uk)

People with symptoms should book a test at the National Beaconside Regional Drive-Through Centre if available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

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