Covid: Todmorden Town Mayor makes plea for testing take-up amid poor turnout

Watch: Video report by Jon Hill

Residents of Todmorden are being urged to get a Covid test - regardless of whether they have symptoms.

The town's sports centre has been set up as a testing site after cases of the Delta variant first identified in India were detected in the town - but so far fewer than 50 people have been for a check up.

Councillor Pat Taylor, Mayor of Todmorden, says it is vital people come forward so that restrictions can be lifted. 

Testing has also started in more areas of Kirklees where volunteers are going door-to-door to hand out kits in Thornhill, Heckmondwike, Liversedge and Westborough and Dewsbury Moor.

But businesses in the town say there is now real concern that rising numbers of infections could derail plans to lift all Covid restrictions in less than three weeks time.

Darren Derrick, landlord of The Honest John Bar and Coffee Tavern, says he's already noticed it's become much quieter since cases of the variant were detected.

"Whether it's as serious as what they say, we will have to wait and find out. But I think it's enough to scare people."

Additional testing is taking place as follows:Todmorden: the Mobile Testing Unit at Todmorden Sports Centre will be open as usual for symptomatic testing on Mondays, but it will also be open for an extended period to enable asymptomatic testing from Tuesday 8 to Sunday 13 June.From Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 June, PCR testing kits will be distributed to students at school for them to take home so their whole household can get tested.

From Monday 14 to Friday 18 June, a Mobile Testing Unit will be travelling around Todmorden and Walsden.

Park and Warley: from Tuesday 8 to Friday 18 June, a Mobile Testing Unit will be available in certain workplaces and PCR testing kits will be available to take home so that workers and their whole household can get tested.

From Thursday 10 to Friday 18 June, PCR testing kits will be available in certain schools in the area for students to take home for their whole household.

 From Monday 21 June, Mobile Testing Units will be going to a range of trusted community venues, including places of worship. These locations are being chosen through engagement with the local community to determine where is most appropriate and convenient for people to get tested.

Bradford Council has also said that they are carrying out surge testing in the city after cases of the Covid-19 variant first identified in India were discovered.

And enhanced testing is to be expanded in Kirklees from Tuesday 8 June, with more communities across the borough invited to get a PCR test to help identify cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in India. 

The Delta variant is more transmissible, so Calderdale Council is asking people to stick to the following five things to help prevent the spread:

  • Keep our distance and limit mixing with people we don’t live with.

  • Wear a face covering where necessary, unless medically exempt.

  • Self-isolate if we test positive or are a contact of someone who has tested positive.

  • Meet others outside where possible, and if not then let the fresh air in.

  • Book our vaccine when we are invited by the NHS.

Deborah Harkins, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Through preventative additional testing and enhanced contact tracing, we are taking early action to try to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the whole of Calderdale and in the communities where we know the risk is highest.

"This enables us to find cases of new variants and support people to self-isolate to prevent further transmission. By acting now, we can all work together to stop things getting worse.”