A COVID-19 testing site is closing this month after playing an essential role in the fight against the virus in Cheshire West and Chester.
Since it opened on 6 April this year, the no-symptoms testing site at Chester Cathedral has carried out 3,214 tests and given out 4,665 test kits for people to use at home.
During the surge testing in Chester in June, the site was also able to offer PCR tests to help detect cases of the Delta variant in the area.
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "We are so grateful to the Cathedral for allowing us the space in their beautiful building for five months, right at the heart of the city centre.
"This centre has played a very important part in making testing accessible to all, which was particularly important during the recent surge testing.
"I also want to explain that the closure of this site does not mean that COVID-19 has gone away, far from it.
"Rates are still high across the borough and we need to be cautious, take up the vaccine and continue to test twice a week, vaccinated or not, with tests remaining available across the borough."
The Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford said "Sitting at the heart of the city, the Cathedral has been delighted to provide this community benefit in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council. Hosting the testing centre was as much a part of our core mission as everything else we do, and it's wonderful to see the benefits it has brought to-date."
Home test kits are available at participating pharmacies across the borough, including in Chester city centre. To find your nearest pharmacy visit: maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk.
Home test kits can also be ordered online for home delivery by visiting: www.gov.uk and searching for 'lateral flow tests'.
Testing centres are open at Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre, in Ellesmere Port, or the Dingle Centre, in Winsford, where you can take a self-swab test or pick up home test kits.
The Council also has two pop-up testing centres that go to areas of greatest need each week. For the latest information visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing.
Home testing kits can also be collected at libraries in the borough, including Northwich, Neston, Frodsham, Ellesmere Port and at the mobile library van.
The testing centre at Chester Cathedral will close on 27 August as part of a national move for local authorities to take testing to communities that need it most, whether that is because of high rates or because people are more likely to be disadvantaged by COVID-19.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, including a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change in smell or taste, should stay at home and book a test at:www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling: 119.
For full information about twice-weekly testing for people without symptoms visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/c19testing.
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