Mobile testing unit launched as Mid Sussex becomes second highest Covid infection rate in England
Mobile Covid testing is being launched in Mid Sussex over the next week to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
Leader of Mid Sussex District Council Jonathan Ash-Edwards Tweeted: "Mid Sussex has the 2nd highest Coronavirus infection rate in England.
"Mobile testing will be available in the Heath Road car park in Haywards Heath over the next week.
"Wearing a face covering in busy indoor venues would be advisable. Get your vaccine / booster when eligible."
Government figures released on Tuesday afternoon showed 1,233 Covid cases were recorded in Mid Sussex in the seven days to November 18, up from 914 the week before.
The rate is now 810.4 per 100,000 people. Since the start of the pandemic 19,170 cases and 285 deaths within 28 days of a positive test have been recorded.
A spokesman for Mid Sussex Liberal Democrats said Covid rates in Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint area are extremely high, with more than 1500 cases per 100,000 people in both villages in the seven days to 23rd November, adding: "The cases are especially high amongst children, and are causing considerable disruption in the primary and secondary schools in the area. With many parents of school aged children only just becoming eligible to get their booster jabs, there is knock on disruption to adults who are catching covid from their children and are unable to work.
"Last week Hurstpierpoint and Downs District Councillor Alison Bennett raised concerns about the rising case rates in the south of Mid Sussex with MSDC, and asked what more could be done to bring the current surge in cases under control. She was advised that surge testing is no longer national policy, but that a mobile testing unit would be brought into Haywards Heath."
West Sussex County Councillor Kirsty Lord (Hassocks and Burgess Hill South said: “We have asked MSDC and WSCC why the mobile testing unit has been placed in Haywards Heath where case rates and case numbers are lower and falling whilst Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint case rates and numbers are higher and still climbing. To date we have no answer.”
Councillor Alison Bennett added: “Surely the benefit of a mobile testing unit is that it offers the flexibility to be located where the need is greatest. There have been reports of the priority post box at Hassocks Station overflowing with returned postal Covid tests. Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint need more support to bring the current surge under control.”
Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health for West Sussex, said: “Covid-19 case rates in West Sussex remained below many other areas in England for a considerable time. This position has recently changed and rates here are currently high, now sitting well above the national average.
“As we enter the run up to Christmas our local NHS and social care services are under great pressure. Please protect yourselves and others by doing all you can to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and keep West Sussex safe.
“The actions you can take are proven to work and simple to do. These include regularly washing our hands, wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, letting fresh air in and maintaining a safe distance from others wherever possible.
“Please take up the offer to get vaccinated, this is key to protecting us and our loved ones. Appointments are still available for first, second and booster vaccinations for all West Sussex people who are eligible.
“Continue to test regularly and isolate if you receive a positive result or if you have Covid-19 symptoms. It is possible to have Covid-19 without any symptoms, by testing you reduce the risk of spreading the virus to friends, family and into your community, including those who are vulnerable and at risk."