Door-to-door testing will begin this weekend as part of ongoing surge testing in areas of Bedford Borough to tackle the high rates of infection locally.
The number of confirmed COVID (coronavirus) cases in the borough fell by 96 in the latest weekly figures, to 266.
However, Local Government Association figures indicate Bedford remains in the top 15 areas in the country for the number of confirmed COVID cases in the last week.
Teams of volunteers, carrying Bedford Borough Council lanyards, will be going door-to-door in Cauldwell, Kingsbrook and Queens Park to hand out free PCR test kits to residents, returning the same day to collect them.
The three wards still have the highest case numbers, although they too decreased sharply in the last week.
Surge testing started two weeks ago. It is a process where everyone living, working or studying in a specific area, who doesn’t already have symptoms, is asked to take a COVID-19 PCR test.
So far, more than 3,000 residents have visited the mobile testing units with a further 6,000 testing kits issued at collection and drop off points.
“We are asking everyone to do everything they can to help stop the spread of the virus,” said Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing.
“With a third of cases not showing any symptoms you could unknowingly pass the virus on to others.
“Offering free PCR tests door to door in areas with the highest infection rates will give more people the opportunity to take a test and help monitor and prevent the spread.
“We encourage everyone in these areas to take a test and self-isolate if they are positive.
“Please have both doses of the vaccine when you are eligible.
“Wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering, keep social distancing, meet up outside if you can and avoid crowded places. Remember Hands-Face-Space-Fresh Air.
Cllr Jackson also thanked all residents that have already taken up the offer of a free PCR test.
Mobile testing units (MTUs) will continue to be available seven days a week for people from Cauldwell, Kingsbrook or Queens Park. No appointment is needed and people can arrive on foot or by car:
- Oasis Beach Pool, Cardington Road, Kingsbrook, Bedford, MK42 0BZ (8am to 6pm)
- John Bunyan Sports and Fitness, Mile Road, Cauldwell, Bedford, MK42 9TS (8am to 6pm)
- Enterprise House, Old Ford End Road, Queens Park, Bedford, MK40 4PF (8am to 5pm)
The collect and drop off sites will no longer be open after Friday 4 June.
Anyone who still has a kit to return after Friday can take it to either the Prebend Street or University of Bedfordshire local testing sites.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate and book a test at gov.uk/coronavirus, visit the NHS COVID-19 app or call 119.
If you do test positive, you must self-isolate to protect others but you may be eligible for financial assistance and other support. For more information visit the council website.