Surge covid testing in Middlesbrough will end on Friday after thousands of people came forward.
Extra testing was introduced after a case of the South African variant was reported in the town.
Two weeks of surge testing for people without symptoms took place at the Parkway Centre, with regular visitors to the shopping centre or those who live in Marton and Coulby Newham urged to get a test.
Provisional data up to February 24 indicates 3,366 people were tested at the Parkway – with around 50 people testing positive for covid-19.
With the nature of exponential growth, asking those 50 who were potentially infecting others with covid to self-isolate could have greatly reduced the risk of its spread.
Positive tests are now being sent for genomic sequencing to increase understanding of the spread of variants.
Detailed results from sequencing will be published once received from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS Test and Trace.
It’s previously been revealed that’s unlikely to be until at least mid-March.
South Tees Joint Director of Public Health Mark Adams thanked those who came forward for testing.
He said: “Further analysis will help us understand more about the potential spread of the variant in Middlesbrough.
“The exercise was beneficial for us at a time when the rate is high in Middlesbrough. We’ve been able to ask people who had no idea they may have been spreading the virus to isolate, along with their contacts.
“A number of people have been supported financially to isolate and the good news is we have three other centres in the town where people without symptoms can be tested and help us to get on top of Covid.”
Middlesbrough Council says it will continue to work alongside PHE to monitor variants and the need for any additional or enhanced surge testing.
The town’s overall infection rate stood at 179 per 100,000 population as of Friday, February 26.
It was 319 on the day surge testing was announced.
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “We’ve made good progress in reducing our rate over the past fortnight. It’s still too high and we mustn’t get complacent but everyone who came forward to the Coulby site has done their bit.”
The council is continuing to offer free rapid testing for people without symptoms of covid-19.
The community testing programme is particularly aimed at those who can’t work from home and therefore come into contact with more people.
Testing for those without symptoms is available at Middlesbrough Sports Village from Wednesday to Sunday, North Ormesby Hub from Monday to Friday and the Newport Hub from Tuesday to Saturday.
Community tests can be booked here.
Anyone with any of the symptoms of covid-19 should self-isolate immediately along with those they live with. The person with symptoms should book a test via the NHS website or by calling 119.
The three main symptoms are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss/change to the sense of smell or taste.
The following sites in Middlesbrough offer testing for anyone with symptoms of covid-19:
- Cannon Park (Drive-through, 8am-8pm, seven days a week)
- Teesside University Printworks car park, Woodlands Road (Walk-through, 8am-8pm, seven days a week)
- Ormesby Road, Pallister Park (Walk-through, 8am-8pm, seven days a week)
- Viewley Centre car park, Hemlington (Drive-through, Monday – Tuesday, 9am-3pm)
- Cargo Fleet Lane (Drive-through currently Wednesday – Sunday, 9am-3pm).
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