Posted on Sunday 13th June 2021
Surge testing of thousands of pupils in Leek and Cheddleton gets underway tomorrow (Monday) in a bid to tackle a major outbreak of the Delta Variant of Concern (VOC).
Older pupils will be tested in school over the coming days, with kits sent home with younger pupils as part of the surge testing of more than 3,000 children.
There have been more than 100 Covid cases linked to the outbreak across some schools, with the vast majority proving to be the Delta VOC.
Education settings where students will be tested are: Westwood College, Leek High School, St Edward’s Middle School, Leek, Westwood First School, St Edward’s Primary School, Cheddleton, Churnet Valley Middle School and Leek and Buxton College.
Extra testing has already been carried out over the past two weeks, but with cases still on the rise, more resources are being put in place to allow surge testing of up to 10,000 people in Leek and Cheddleton, with plans for further community pop-ups and door-to-door testing in the coming days.
Dr Richard Harling, Director for Health and Care at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Cases continue to rise in Leek and Cheddleton and we need to act swiftly to contain this outbreak, keep people safe and continue to enjoy the freedoms we have all worked so hard to win back.
“We know that the outbreak started among older school children, so this surge testing will help us quickly identify anymore positive cases so they and their contacts can isolate and reduce the risk to everyone.
“I would urge everyone in the area if you are offered a PCR test, whether that’s in school or on your doorstep as part of our surge testing, please take it.”
Tests will be collected every day, with positive cases being sent to the labs for genotyping for the VOC.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“The rise in Delta cases particularly in Leek, but also now in Cheddleton is concerning, and the co-operation we have seen from schools and residents so far has been fantastic. It is clear local people are taking this outbreak seriously and are prepared to do what is needed to stop the spread of infection.
Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Sybil Ralphs MBE said: “It is clear this variant is spreading in Leek and Cheddleton, but I’m confident that people will step up to take part in this testing in schools and our local community. Our residents and businesses have been doing everything they can to stay open and keep people safe.“
Vaccines are also available for people aged 18 or over in Leek and Cheddleton.
People can find out more about testing and about booking a vaccine at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/leektesting