ALL Holyhead and Holy Island residents and workers are being urged to take a free Covid-19 test because of the growing number of cases locally.
Latest data reports that the Holyhead and Holy Island areas have a concerning Covid-19 incidence rate, several times higher than the national average.
Anglesey County Council, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Public Health Wales are working with local partners including the voluntary sector to take all the required measures to reduce the rate of transmission and turn the increasing trend down.
A spokesman said: “Despite restrictions being gradually eased nationally, the situation on Holy Island remains very serious with stricter adherence to the required measures: hands, face, space.
“Mass community testing seen as a vital step to identify as many positive cases who will be unknowingly infectious and stopping the virus from spreading further.
“As one in three people with Covid-19 do not show any symptoms, everyone is urged to get tested even if they do not have symptoms or have had the vaccine. This way we can stop the virus spreading and start lifting restrictions sooner.
“This comprehensive community testing programme started on Sunday, March 21 and includes extra tests available for families with secondary school age children, tests delivered to homes and a community testing centre established at Holyhead Leisure Centre next week.
“In addition, the community testing programme will include: tests at the walk-in and drive-through testing centre located at Stanley Crescent Car Park, Victoria Road, Holyhead. There is no need to book an appointment.”
The spokesman added: “Covid-19 testing kits (the rapid, LFD, test kits) will be available for collection walk-in and drive-through from Lower Hill Street Car Park, Holyhead.
“This is specifically for secondary school pupils (years 7 to 13) and their family bubbles (pupils in years 10-13 many already have been provided with test kits from school) that are not displaying Covid-19 symptoms and would like to collect a rapid test to take at home. This service is also available for households and bubbles with a child in childcare, school or college.
“Again there is no need to book an appointment. This site will be open 9.30am until 4.30pm for one week. It is not open to the wider general public.
“If this rapid LFD test is positive, you need to visit the walk-in and drive-through testing centre located at Stanley Crescent Car Park, Victoria Road, Holyhead for a confirmatory test as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. In the meantime stay in self-isolation.
“From today, Monday March 22, Covid-19 testing kits will start to be distributed to the main areas impacted to date on Holy Island. We are urging all residents to please take the test when they receive the kit (even if not displaying symptoms). They will be collected later for immediate transfer to the labs for analysis.
“From the end this week, commencing March 22, a new dedicated Covid-19 community testing centre will be operational at Holyhead Leisure Centre. Residents that are not displaying Covid-19 symptoms are urged to get tested to help prevent further spread of the virus. You will not need to self isolate while waiting your result.
“Please do not visit the community testing centre at Holyhead Leisure Centre if you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19. If you do have symptoms please go for a test at the walk-in and drive-through testing centre located at Stanley Crescent Car Park, Victoria Road, Holyhead.”
Ffion Johnstone, Area Director for the West of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said, “We’re all concerned by the rise in cases in Holyhead and action is needed to respond as a community to protect our residents.
“By testing more people, including those without symptoms, we are able to find more positive cases of the virus and break chains of transmission.
“We will continue to work with Anglesey Council and Public Health Wales to support this significant undertaking over the next few weeks and encourage as many of our residents as possible to play their part in trying to bring the virus under control.
Anglesey Council Leader, Councillor Llinos Medi, said: “The seriousness of the situation on Holy Island cannot be underestimated. The current data speaks for itself. This virus is spreading within the community and is a significant risk to people’s health.
“We are working with partners locally, regionally and nationally to keep the people of Holyhead and Holy Island safe. That is our one and only goal here. Community testing will help us understand prevalence and level of transmission within the community.”
She added, “It is vital that everyone who lives or works on Holy Island gets tested and more important than ever that we all stick to the rules to help protect our family, friends and the community.”