Public Health Agency Update On Kilkeel Testing

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is concluding its enhanced testing work in Kilkeel.

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The Public Health Agency (PHA) is concluding its enhanced testing work in Kilkeel.

Dr Bríd Farrell, Assistant Director of Service Development, Safety and Quality at the PHA, said: “More than 2,100 residents have participated in the targeted testing in the Kilkeel area. Examination of the data from before and during the enhanced testing reveals that since Monday 30 May, there have been 50 COVID-19 positive cases. Of these, 28 are probable or confirmed cases of the Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02, first detected in India).

The Public Health Agency is a bone fide arm’s length health body and has played a key role in fighting the Covid-19 epidemic in Northern Ireland.

“The situation in the area is stable and no additional public health interventions are required at present. This will be kept under review.

“The PHA would like to thank the people of the Kilkeel area, the school community, and Newry Mourne and Down District Council for their cooperation and support over the past week in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Given the spread of the Delta variant across the UK, we are seeing a general increase in the number of cases in Northern Ireland.

“As of yesterday (Wednesday 9 June 2021) our surveillance systems are indicating that based on Reflex Assays, 111 probable and confirmed cases of the Delta variant have been detected throughout all 11 local council areas in Northern Ireland.

“So, the message for everyone remains that it is essential that we all continue to stick to the important public health actions of good hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing, wearing a face covering where required, and keeping rooms well ventilated to help stop the spread of COVID-19, regardless of the variant. We need to continue these measures in the coming weeks and over the summer.

“We would also urge everyone to get tested when appropriate, and to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of a positive case. And of course, get your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can and make sure you get your second dose.

“Each of these steps will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and help keep you and your community safe.”

Every Thursday, Public Health England releases data on the number of cases of COVID-19 variants across the UK that have been confirmed by the process of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). This can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-variants-genomically-confirmed-case-numbers

Please note that the WGS data for Northern Ireland in the update on Thursday 10 June 2021 (41 cases) will not reflect the cases associated with enhanced testing in the Kilkeel area over the past week as the WGS process takes longer to finalise.