End of free COVID-19 testing in Cheshire West and Chester

21 March 2022

Free COVID-19 testing in Cheshire West and Chester ends at the end of March.

The last day of testing for people with symptoms of COVID-19 is 30 March and the last day of no-symptoms testing is 31 March.

Closing the service is part of the national plan for living with the virus following the ongoing success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, which makes anyone fully vaccinated 10 times less likely to suffer serious symptoms or need hospital treatment than unvaccinated people.

Cheshire West and Chester Council launched the no-symptoms testing service in the borough in December 2020 and has carried out more than 52,500 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests and given out more than 156,500 home test kits.

The Council has fixed testing centres at Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre, in Ellesmere Port, and The Dingle Centre, in Winsford, as well as two pop-up testing units which tour the borough, focusing on areas of greatest need. Many of the borough’s libraries also offer home test kits.

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:

“The Council’s testing service has been invaluable in breaking chains of transmission and giving residents peace of mind.

“We know from resident feedback that the thousands who have used the service since December 2020 have valued it very much and I want to take this opportunity to thank all the teams involved for their hard work and adaptability.

“I also want to thank all residents who have participated in testing for playing their part in the fight against this virus and doing all they can to look after each other.

“COVID-19 has not gone away, and we are seeing an increase in cases in the borough once more.

“I appeal to you to continue to look after each other – until the end of the month book a free PCR test if you have symptoms and keep testing yourself regularly with LFDs if you don’t have symptoms, as well as sticking with those other precautionary measures like face coverings indoors, regular thorough handwashing and good ventilation when you’re socialising.”

The latest seven-day infection rate for Cheshire West and Chester is 887 per 100,000 people up to 16 March.

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at the Council, said:

“I am really proud of the testing team and what it has achieved since December 2020, and proud of how our residents have stepped up and played their part by getting tested – it has been vital in our fight against the virus.

“We’re now moving into a very different stage of living with the virus, which has only been made possible by understanding more about it and by the incredible success of the vaccine programme.

“Getting fully vaccinated is the best thing you can do to defend yourself and your community against COVID-19 and it is never too late to get your first, second or booster dose so I would definitely urge you to do that if you haven’t already.”

If you have symptoms, including a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in your sense of smell or taste, then stay at home and book a laboratory-processed PCR test by ringing: 119 or visiting: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

For information on where to pick up free home LFD test kits before the service closes on 31 March visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing. 

For information on how to get a vaccine, visit: www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk and click on ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Programme - What You Need to Know’.

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