Covid testing operations under way across Derry and Down amid concerns over potential Delta variant clusters
Letters have been delivered to homes across Derry for adults aged 40 and under with no symptoms to get tested for Covid-19.
The Public Health Agency said it has identified “a number of probable cases of the Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02)” in areas of the city as well as in Castlewellan, Co Down.
The early results are “suggestive of the variant but this has not been confirmed,” the PHA has said.
Four locations have been opened up for people in Derry to go along and get tested in the city as a precautionary measure.
People aged 18-40 years old from a number of different neighbourhoods in the city have now received letters urging them to get PCR tested to help identify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases early and “reduce the risk of spread in the community”.
The move comes amid concern that the incidence of COVID cases in Derry remains significantly higher the Northern Ireland average.
Those being asked to come forward for testing have been contacted by post and urged to book a slot at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-testTwo mobile testing units have been opened from 9am to 3pm daily, located at Templemore Sports Complex, in the cityside and Glendermott Church of Ireland, Church Brae in the cityside,
A drive through test facility is open from 9am to 5.30pm at the LYCRA Company Car park near The Rec Club in the Waterside.
A walk through test facility is also available from 8am to 2pm at Ulster University’s Magee Campus, Car Park 3, Rock Road.
Dr Bríd Farrell, Assistant Director of Service Development, Safety and Quality at the PHA, said: “Testing in these areas is a precautionary measure to identify asymptomatic cases and help prevent and delay further spread of the virus. By slowing the spread of the virus, this allows us to get more people in the community vaccinated and get protected against COVID-19 which is effective against the Delta variant.
“PCR testing is opening to those in the 18 to 40 age group as we are seeing more cases of the Delta variant in this age group throughout Northern Ireland. We encourage those eligible in the neighbourhoods identified by the agency to book a slot for testing when they receive their letter, and preferably within 24-72 hours of receipt.
“We are seeing cases of the Delta variant across all council areas of Northern Ireland and this is a reminder to everyone that we should take steps now to help reduce the spread of the variant, and avoid becoming complacent.
“Everyone over the age of 18 who has not yet booked their vaccine should do so now – if you have had your first dose, make sure you attend for your second one. Two doses of the vaccine appears to have a high degree of effectiveness against the Delta variant, and getting it will not only help protect you, but also more vulnerable members of our community. Vaccine booking and further information are available at covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated“We should all continue to carry out all public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Continue with good hand and respiratory hygiene, keep your distance of two metres from others where possible, wear a face covering where necessary, and keep rooms well ventilated. Helping to stop the spread of the virus will save lives.”
“If anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19, which are a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a change in your sense of taste or smell, please book a PCR test as soon as possible and you and your household must self-isolate when waiting for your test appointment and test result.”