Covid-19 testing centres set up in Dewsbury and Batley as Kirklees sees increase in cases

Mobile testing unites have been set up in Dewsbury and Batley after Kirklees saw an increase in coronavirus cases.

By Ian Hirst
Thursday, 16th July 2020, 8:37 am
Updated Thursday, 16th July 2020, 8:42 am

New data released last week by the government showed a small increase in cases in Kirklees.

Kirklees Council has confirmed it is now taking immediate action to reduce rates to save lives and avoid a local lockdown.

The council’s action includes mobilising its staff to work with people, families and business owners in areas with the highest rates about how they can stay safe as lockdown eases.

Mobile testing units have been set up in Batley and Dewsbury (Getty images)

A major public information campaign will also give all residents in Kirklees the latest information on how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe as lockdown eases.

Increased testing in affected areas will give local people and public health officials a better understanding of how the virus is affecting communities in North Kirklees.

An outreach operation in communities most affected by COVID-19 is already underway with local councillors leading hundreds of council staff in dispensing public health advice to residents and working with families and communities on how they can stay safe.

Initially operating in Ravensthorpe, Saville Town and Batley West, and focused on people in the 20-40 years old age group, council staff will talk to voluntary and community organisations about how they can work together to stay safe. They will also engage people and families who might be at particular risk or who need support to isolate.

An additional mobile testing unit (MTU) is available in Batley at Wards Hill car park. T

he existing MTU in Dewsbury has moved to Cliffe Street car park. The units will be available for anyone who thinks they have symptoms to get a test.

Strategic Director of Public Health for Kirklees, Rachel Spencer-Henshall said: “We’ve been waiting for data that can help us target action for months. Now that we know more, we have acted quickly to get support into communities where we can have the biggest impact and bring infection rates down.

“We are talking about relatively small numbers of positive cases but there is no room for complacency. The council and its partners have thousands of interactions with people and communities every day. We will make the most of those conversations, and create more, so that everyone understands their role in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“Data is hugely helpful but it never gives a complete picture. We are very likely to see infection rates go up and down in communities and pockets in different parts of Kirklees in the coming weeks and months. We’re ready to deploy staff and testing units anywhere in Kirklees if we think it will help bring rates down. And we will be coming up with new ways of supporting people to bring rates down all the time.

“We are focusing our efforts in parts of North Kirklees for now but the advice is the same for everyone, whatever age you are and wherever you live. Keep social distancing, wash your hands regularly and isolate if you have symptoms or are contacted by the NHS test and trace service.”