The Public Health Agency has identified a number of probable cases of the Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02) in Ballymoney area. These early results are suggestive of the variant but this has not been confirmed.
As a precautionary measure the PHA are asking asymptomatic people to get tested in selected, targeted neighbourhoods within Ballymoney. This is in advance of confirmation of whether a variant is present and so that the PHA can identify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases early and reduce the risk of spread in the community.
Testing is opening to everyone in these areas over the age of 5 years old.
Households in the areas that this testing covers will be contacted directly by PHA by post from tomorrow [Friday].
Dr Bríd Farrell, Assistant Director of Service Development, Safety and Quality at the PHA, said: “Testing in these areas is a precautionary measure to identify asymptomatic cases and help prevent and delay further spread of the virus.
“We encourage all those eligible in the neighbourhoods identified by the agency to present for testing, preferably within 24-72 hours of receiving their letter.
“We are particularly interested in people in the 18 to 40 age group coming forward for testing as we are seeing more cases of the Delta variant in this age group throughout Northern Ireland.
“This is a reminder to everyone that we should take steps now to help reduce the spread of the variant, and must avoid becoming complacent. Everyone over the age of 18 who has not yet booked their vaccine should do so now – if you have had your first dose, make sure you attend for your second one. Two doses of the vaccine appears to have a high degree of effectiveness against the Delta variant, and getting it will not only help protect you, but also more vulnerable members of our community.
“Also, continue to carry out all public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Continue with good hand and respiratory hygiene, keep your distance of two metres from others where possible, wear a face covering where necessary, and keep rooms well ventilated. Helping to stop the spread of the virus will save lives.”
If anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19, which are a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a change in your sense of taste or smell, please book a test as soon as possible and you and your household must self-isolate when waiting for your test appointment and test result.
Two mobile testing units will be located at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre, 33 Garryduff Road, Ballymoney, BT53 7DB. Open daily 9am-3pm.