© South Ribble Borough Council 2019

 

Statement from Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, Paul Foster in relation to COVID19 testing capacity in the borough

16 September 2020

Statement from Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, Paul Foster in relation to COVID19 testing capacity in the borough

“I am becoming increasing concerned and frustrated at the testing capacity available to you all within South Ribble in the fact that literally none of us seem to be able to get swiftly tested, and as always my view is you must be informed of the actual situation and true position;  it is too an important issue for anything other.

“The facts are stark in that the testing capacity is currently woefully inadequate to meet the demand. Government must stop, please, advising otherwise as it is sending out a wholly inaccurate, confusing message to people already experiencing huge stress with either COVID symptoms, ill children, self-isolation or the inability to work.

“The national testing capacity available, which is already extremely limited, is now being prioritised for key NHS workers and the most vulnerable, meaning the huge demand from children being sent home from schools, parents, and the a-symptomatic being instructed to self-isolate, cannot be met.  

“You all need to understand that this is the case, and the chances of getting a test locally is genuinely going to be limited. My understanding is that this could well be the case for several weeks.

“So, what can we do about it?  What are we doing about it?  Firstly, we have asked council officers to look at every possible local solution, how can the Council somehow be able to facilitate additional private testing, along with the constant, continued dialogue with Government to pressure for additional resources locally.  

“Secondly, we must all somehow work together in an attempt to take the pressure off the testing and labs by reducing the rate of infection - we can only do this by social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands  and critically, not mixing separate family units; it is proven now beyond doubt that this mingling is causing the greatest cross-infection.    

“We are of the view locally that misinformation is really beginning to frustrate and annoy the community and must stop. Government must just be straight with you all and confirm that we do have as a country (as do many others), significant Covid-19 testing challenges, particularly now schools are back, and work restrictions are being lifted.

“We will continue to do absolutely everything in our power to support you all through this appalling pandemic, and we will continue to keep you all informed of the true facts and challenges we face.  We want the Government to succeed, we really do, and we will continue to contribute fully to every initiative. We will continue to issue updates as soon as we have more information.

“Take care and stay safe.”

 

ENDS