Council leaders have united to appeal to those who cannot work from home in Lichfield and Burntwood to book regular coronavirus tests.

Cllr Alan White, leader of Staffordshire County Council, and Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, are among a group of local authority leaders to back the call as part of the rollout of community testing centres.

Cllr White said that while the COVID-19 vaccine offered hope for the future, people still needed to ensure they were helping prevent transmission in the short term.

“While cases have started to fall in lockdown, they still  remain worryingly high.

“We know that across the country hospitals are becoming overwhelmed – with reports nationally that someone is now being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 every 30 seconds.

“There is good news on the horizon with the vaccines, but we cannot become distracted by this, as it will be many months before we know and feel the benefits.

“The national lockdown means we must stay at home as much as possible. However, we all recognise that some people simply can’t work from home.

“That is why we are appealing to everyone who is out working in Staffordshire this week to book a test. It is free, quick and has never been easier to book one.

“One third of people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms and you could be one of them.

“So, please get tested now. It may just protect your workmates, your community and your family when you return home at the end of the day.”

Cllr Alan White, Staffordshire County Council

Lichfield district’s current rate of infection is 387 per 100,000 people, while the Staffordshire average stands at 433.

Community testing centres for people without symptoms are currently operating across the county, including at Lichfield City FC and Burntwood Leisure Centre.

People can get a test via a dedicated online booking system.

Those with symptoms are asked to continue booking via via the national testing portal.

Dr Richard Harling, Staffordshire’s director of health and care, said:

“We all need to stick to the basic rules of hands, face and space, work from home where we can and get tested if you are out working through lockdown.

“We are seeing the biggest increases in the 19 to 34 year-old bracket, with many in this age group not only likely to be working but also seeing more people, so we would appeal to working people of this age group in particular to get tested on a regular basis.”

Dr Richard Harling

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