Wakefield schoolchildren and essential workers to be prioritised for Covid-19 tests
Schoolchildren and essential workers are to be prioritised for Covid-19 tests under the council's local testing scheme.
Launched in July, the local testing service offers Wakefield residents Covid-19 tests delivered to their home.
The system is run by Wakefield Council and local healthcare provider Conexus, and is offered in addition to the national testing service.
It comes as a seventh school confirms that students have been asked to self-isolate after a classmate tested positive for Covid-19.
More than 2,690 people in the district have tested positive for Covid-19 to date.
But only a limited number of tests are available, and the council has now said that it will begin prioritising tests for essential staff and schoolchildren, in an effort to keep essential services running.
Anna Hartley, Wakefield’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are aware that issues with the national testing service are likely to last for at least another two to three weeks and we continue to escalate our concerns about the national testing programme as robustly and frequently as we can.
“This means we must make the most of the local Conexus service and we need to prioritise key workers and children in order to support essential services and help keep schools open.
“If you do not have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, please do not get a test as we need to make sure tests are readily available for those who really need them. If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please remember that you need to self-isolate for 14 days to protect others.
"A negative test result makes no difference, as you could develop the infection at any time during the 14 day period.”
In no particular order, the priority groups for the local testing service are now: children aged two or over; teachers and household members; essential local authority staff and their household, social care and care home staff and household members and frontline emergency service staff and their household.
Those who do not fall into these groups are asked to request a test through the national system before contacting the council.
The local testing service is available from Monday to Friday and bookings for appointments for children and young people over the age of two can be made by calling 01924 224497.
Key workers in one of the groups above who need a test should speak to their line manager or Human Resources department who will be able to advise what to do.
People can access testing via the national NHS test and trace service by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. This service should only be used by people who have symptoms.