Enhanced testing will be rolled-out in Farnworth, Plodder Lane and Great Lever from this weekend as the borough moves to the next phase of its COVID-19 response.
Infection rates in the Bolton area have risen substantially in recent weeks, serving as a stark reminder that the virus has not gone away.
Alongside the ongoing vaccination drive, enhanced testing is an essential part of the strategy to bring local rates under control.
It requires everyone living, working or studying in a specific area, who does not already have symptoms, to take a COVID-19 test.
Many people with COVID do not have symptoms but may be spreading the virus without realising, testing helps find these people so they can self-isolate to protect others.
Successful enhanced testing programmes have already focussed on Deane, Rumworth, Halliwell and Central Bolton.
Teams will be out on Saturday delivering information leaflets on vaccination second doses, testing and self-isolation to households in Farnworth, Plodder Lane and Great Lever.
From Sunday onwards teams from the council, volunteer groups, the national Surge Rapid Response Team and the army will go door-to-door in the areas distributing kits, and returning later to collect completed tests.
Alongside this, new testing sites will be available from Saturday:
- Bolton Science and Technology Centre, Minerva Road (BL4 0HA)
- Asda, Brackley Street (BL4 9DT)
Test kits can be collected and returned from:
- Highfield Hall Community Centre, Marsh Lane (BL4 0AW)
- Farnworth Town Hall Basement, Market Street (BL4 7PD)
- Farnworth Social Circle Cricket Club, Piggott Street (BL4 9QJ)
Anyone who tests positive during enhanced testing must self-isolate to protect others.
Anyone struggling with self-isolation can contact Bolton Council’s COVID-19 Helpline on 01204 337221 and may also be eligible for financial support.
Residents with COVID symptoms should book a test as normal via the national online portal.
Alongside testing, there will be a continued vaccine push to those who are eligible but have not yet had their first dose of the jab and reminding them of the importance of having a second dose.
Watch out for social media updates from Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group for more vaccination sites.
Thank you to everyone for their hard work so far but there is still work to do.
Bolton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey, said:
“The community response to surge testing has been outstanding so far, take-up has been strong and our teams have received a warm welcome.
“Thank you to everyone for their hard work so far but there is still work to do.
“Please take a test and self-isolate if you are positive and take up the vaccine when it is offered.
“Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering, keep social distance and let fresh air in.”
Dr Helen Wall, Senior Responsible Officer for the vaccination programme in Bolton, said:
“Plans for enhanced vaccination in this area are in the pipeline and we have three walk-in vaccination sites operating over the weekend and beyond for anyone in BL4 who hasn’t yet had their first dose.
“We have just launched a new site at Eden Boys’ School which is offering a walk-in service to both first and second doses of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca, open 10am to 6pm each day until June 6.
“Plus we have the Vaccination Bus at Essa Academy open until 5.30pm all weekend and including Bank Holiday Monday, along with Quebec Hall, in Back Bankfield Street, which is open 8am to 8pm.
“All three sites are open to BL4 residents and I would urge them to get vaccinated this weekend.”