Surge testing to start in Manchester today after new Covid-19 variant is found
Surge testing is being introduced in parts of Manchester after cases of the Kent variant have been confirmed.
The testing will focus mainly in South Manchester following the news that four cases of a mutation of the Kent variant have been found in two unconnected households.
More than 10,000 tests are planned with volunteers offering house-to-house tests to those over 16 and primarily for those who are not showing symptoms.
The council said it is working with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace and everyone in the designated areas would be given a PCR swab test with results returned within days.
Surge testing begins today, targeting people who do not have symptoms but who live and work within the boundary area.
The council are calling for those who live in any of the following postcodes to attend one of the testing sites if they are offered: M14 4, M14 7, M15 5, M15 6, M16 7 and M16 8, which covers parts of Moss Side, Hulme, Whalley Range and Fallowfield.
There are testing sites located at Our Lady’s R C Church on Raby Street and Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurdwara on Monton Street.
The sites will be walk-in centres with no requirement to book a test in advance. More testing sites are set to be made available within the next few days.
If someone has already had the vaccine they should still take the test as the programme is designed to understand the spread of the new variant in the local community.
David Regan, Director of Public Health, Manchester City Council, said: “We all know that the virus will change over time and it’s important that we investigate new strains to understand how they might spread. This is exactly what we’re doing with the intensive testing in parts of Manchester with local testing units and people going door-to-door to offer people tests.
“There is no evidence that this variant will be resistant to the vaccines or causes a more severe illness, and it is not yet known if the strain can be passed more easily between people. But it is really important that everyone who lives in the boundary area and is over the age of 16 plays their part and gets a test.
“The best thing we can all do it to keep following the rules – Hands, Face, Space – get a test if you have symptoms, and keep your vaccination appointment when you are called.”
Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council’s executive member for adult health and well-being, said: “It’s understandable that some residents in the area may be concerned by all this, but we need to remember that it’s very normal for viruses to mutate. The important thing is that this mutation has been identified and that we’re taking action to stop its spread.
“We are following the public health approach to react to the new variant and we will be working with community groups, local champions, MPs and councillors to ensure as many people as possible know how to get a test so we can understand more about this version of the virus.
“There are no changes to the restrictions in Manchester and if you do have to go out for one of the permitted reasons, please make sure you carry on following the rules on social distancing, and wearing a face covering, as well as washing your hands regularly.”
Dr Will Welfare, Deputy Director for Health Protection at PHE North West, said: “As part of our testing work, Public Health England (PHE) has identified in the Moss Side area of Manchester a small number of COVID-19 cases of the variant first identified in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
“PHE is working closely with and supporting Manchester City Council, as we monitor the situation closely and ensure all necessary measures are being taken to reduce the spread of the virus.
“The most important thing is that people continue to follow the guidance that is in place – limit the number of people you come into contact with, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep your distance and cover your face. If you test positive you must isolate to stop the spread of the virus.”
Woman tragically dies in Manchester petrol station incident
Emergency services attended the scene but the woman was sadly confirmed dead
An elderly woman has died following a crash at a petrol station in Manchester.
Officers believe the woman, who was in her 70s, suffered a medical episode while at the wheel of her car when she crashed into a small brick wall.
She had been trying to drive the Nissan Micra off the forecourt of the Asda petrol station in Moston Lane, Harpurhey, at approximately 10.45am on Wednesday, March 22nd.
Emergency services attended the scene but the woman was sadly confirmed dead. Greater Manchester Police have appealed for any witnesses to help them.
A section of stretch of road, near the junction with Rochdale Road, was closed for a number of hours while emergency services dealt with the incident. Paramedics and two air ambulances were seen.
Anyone with information or on the forecourt at the time of the incident should contact police on 0161 856 4741 quoting log 1103-22/3/2023.
Information can also be reported online or by using the LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk. If you can’t report online, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
‘Postbox to heaven’ now installed at Greater Manchester crematorium
Such a lovely idea!
A postbox allowing people to send letters to their loved ones in heaven has now been installed at a Greater Manchester crematorium.
The white and gold Royal Mail letterbox can be found at Howe Bridge crematorium in Atherton, Wigan Borough. It was the idea of nine-year-old Matilda Handy who wanted to send a letter to her late grandparents to help her cope with the grief of her loss.
The first was set-up at Gedling Crematorium, near Nottingham, and proved a popular concept with over 100 letters and cards posted within its first few weeks. Speaking to Granada Reports, Matilda’s mother Leanne, who is Gedling Crematorium’s Memorial Advisor, said: “She was four when my mum died, and never met my dad.
“Now the postbox is in place, I am so pleased that local people are using it, and taking some comfort from it, as another way of feeling connected to their loved ones.”
UK crematorium and cemetery operator, Westerleigh Group is now rolling out the postboxes across all of its sites.
Lindsey Edwardson, Site Manager at Howe Bridge Crematorium, said: “Feedback has shown that the process of writing a letter, or perhaps a birthday card, to a lost loved one has already brought therapeutic comfort to many people.
“Now, the communities in and around our crematorium can do the same thing. No address or stamps are required on any of the letters or cards. This is just another way in which we can provide emotional support to local families.”
A post on the Howe Bridge Crematorium Facebook page read: “We are proud to announce the official opening of our Letters to Heaven Post Box. Our thanks go to Alison Regan Civil Funeral Celebrant for her beautiful service to commemorate its opening.
“For all those who wish, you can post a letter to your loved ones that are no longer with us at the Post Box.”
Woman with undiagnosed brain tumour had to visit doctors nine times to get scan
Doctors told her if she had not had the surgery within a few hours or days then it could have been a different story
A woman with an undiagnosed brain tumour who was told ‘we don’t give out brain scans to 24-year-olds willy nilly’ is now campaigning for change.
Claudia Laird, from Burnley, went to see a medical professional on nine occasions as she tried to get to the bottom of why she felt so unwell. One week later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Claudia told ITV Granada Reports: “I think the initial reaction was trusting of the GP. I was in shock after, because I found out I definitely needed that brain scan.
“It was all quite quick – they weren’t sure what was on the brain at first. It was all up in the air.
“I can’t believe I went through that. We were just waiting for the doctors to tell us the outcome. It was challenging, but more so looking back on it now. At the time, you don’t know the outcome.”
Claudia was experiencing symptoms of confusion, hallucinations and fatigue. But doctors put it down to what they thought to be gastroenteritis. After discovering the tumour, Claudia had to then undergo an eight-hour operation.
Doctors told her if she had not had the surgery within a few hours or days then it could have been a different story. She said: “I was asleep all the time. My friends would call me lazy. I thought it was because I was working long hours.
“I walked into a window thinking it was a door. I spent a night in bed with my mum and dad because I was hallucinating.”
Claudia is now training to be a paediatrician, to give people the same level of care. After the difficulty she had in getting diagnosed, Claudia has decided she does not want the same mistakes to happen to someone else.
Claudia said: “We need everybody to understand the difficulty of getting that diagnosis. It took me over nine times to get that diagnosis. I went to opticians, GP and A&E just to push to say ‘I really don’t think something is right here’.
“I want to see some changes, some research, funding into brain tumours. 1% of cancer research goes into brain tumours.”
The NHS lists the symptoms of a brain tumour as:
- seizures (fits)
- persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness.
- mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality.
- progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body.
- vision or speech problems.