Covid mobile testing site opens in Needham Market - but council urges people to book in advance

Covid testing in Needham Market, Suffolk

A mobile testing site has opened in Needham Market after three new cases of the Indian variant were identified in the area - Credit: Archant

A mobile coronavirus testing unit has opened in Needham Market after new cases of the variant first identified in India were found in Suffolk. 

The county council said yesterday that four new cases of the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) have been identified, bringing the total to five known cases in Suffolk. 

Three of the new cases have been linked to the Needham Market area, and the council is encouraging residents, who are not showing any Covid-19 symptoms, to take a PCR test to help monitor any potential spread of the disease.

Due to the increase in the Covid variant, Needham Market Football Club has placed a blanket ban on games at its ground over the weekend. 

This means the Suffolk Girls and Women's Football League under 12 and under 13 girls' finals have been postponed. 

A further case of the Indian variant was linked to the Newmarket area while another historic case was linked to Mildenhall. 

The Needham Market testing site opened at 9am today at Mid Suffolk District Council building car park in the High Street and saw a steady stream of people visiting. 

The council stressed today that people must book in advance through the website or by calling 119 after a number of people turned up without appointments. 

Needham Market coronavirus testing site, Suffolk

Three new cases of the Indian variant have been identified in the Needham Market area and the town is now being targeted for testing - Credit: Archant

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There have been 16 cases in Needham Market and surrounding area in the last two weeks, with 71 cases in the whole of Suffolk.

This is at a rate of 143.6 cases per 100,000 population, which is double the case rate of any other Middle layer Super Output Areas (MOSA) in Suffolk.

Across Suffolk, this figure is 13.8 per 100,000, and 16.5 per 100,000 for the East of England.

The targeted testing in Needham Market follows a number of positive cases at Wattisham. 

A British Army spokesman said: "We can confirm that we have had a number of personnel based at Wattisham Flying Station test positive for coronavirus.

"In accordance with government guidelines they are self-isolating and contact tracing procedures have been followed. All military activity is guided by public health protocols on social distancing, hygiene and the use of PPE."

Mobile testing site in Needham Market, Suffolk

The testing site has opened in Needham Market - Credit: Archant

The remaining new case of the variant identified in the Newmarket area is currently being treated as a solitary case, but Public Health Suffolk said it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The testing site is open from 9am to 6pm from Saturday, May 22 to Saturday, May 29 at Mid Suffolk District Council building car park at 131 High Street, Needham Market, IP6 8DL (access via Hurstlea Road). 


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