Covid testing units to remain until weekend amid Indian variant fears

Stuart Keeble is director of Suffolk Public Health

Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, urges those with the vaccine to also get tested for Covid in Needham Market - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Residents in Needham Market who have had both vaccines are being urged to get a Covid test after the Indian variant was found in the town.

It is believed that the variant first identified in India, known as B.1.617.2,  was brought to Suffolk from an original case in Bolton.

Currently, five Indian variant coronavirus cases have been found in Suffolk, with no new update on cases identified since Friday. 

Two Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) have been in operation at Needham Market since Saturday and since Monday, May 24, a total of 527 Covid tests were carried out. 

The ongoing asymptomatic testing also had 400 PCR tests completed on Monday and 1,300 tests conducted over the weekend.  

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Testing will continue until Saturday, May 29 but it has now been decided that the number of MTUs deployed will drop from two to one from Wednesday, May 26.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health at Suffolk County Council, said: “The response from the Needham Market community continues to be excellent and we are very grateful.

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“I would remind people that they do not need to book an appointment at the Needham Market mobile testing unit for your PCR test, you can just turn up.

"This will be helpful for people who are unable to book online, or who work in the town during the week.

“I would urge anyone that is local to, or works in Needham Market, to please visit the site this week for a PCR test and help us establish if the virus is spreading.

“No vaccine is 100% effective though, so even if you have received one or both vaccines please get a PCR test.

“I also continue to ask everyone in Suffolk to follow national guidance - hands, face, space, open windows at home if you have visitors, and go for your first or second vaccination appointment when it is offered to you.”

When asked if there were any more Indian variant cases identified during the increased testing in Needham Market over the weekend, Suffolk County Council explained it could take up to 10 days before any more cases are identified.

The mobile testing unit has been set up in the Mid Suffolk District Council building car park in the High Street and is open from 9am to 6pm, with access via Hurstlea Road. 

For more on Covid testing in Suffolk, see here.

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