The local MP in Mid Ulster has called for a mobile testing unit to be deployed following a sharp increase in the spread of Covid-19 in the area.
Francie Molloy was speaking after the rate of confirmed Coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Mid Ulster rose to 100.3, marking an 11-fold increase in the last two weeks.
"The number of people testing positive for COVID19 in Mid-Ulster has jumped significantly over the course of recent days," he said.
“In a quick period of time, the area has gone from one of very limited infections to an emerging hotspot. At present the nearest testing centres to Mid Ulster are located in Craigavon and the Ballymena area.
“With Mid Ulster being a large geographical and rural constituency, it is crucial that a central and accessible testing unit is located in the local area.
“Testing must be easily accessible if we are to ensure an effective test, trace and isolate system to minimise the spread of the virus.
“There are a number of locations in Mid Ulster that could readily accommodate a testing unit and I would urge the Department of Health and Public Health Agency to immediately look at potential options.
“I would urge everyone to follow the public health guidelines – wear a mask where appropriate, practise good hand hygiene and keep social distancing."
Meanwhile, a Mid Ulster MLA has urged the public to continue to follow the guidance for fighting the spread of Covid-19 after she herself underwent a test for the virus.
Emma Sheerin said the fact that the rate of infection in the district was now the third highest in the country was 'worrying'.
"Today I had a high temperature and a sore throat, so I booked myself into the testing unit in Crumlin and got a test, which I now await the results for," she said in a post on her Facebook page.
"It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it wasn’t painful or gruesome, and it only took a few minutes from beginning to end.
"Because I’ve not been made aware of any contact with a positive case, I’m hoping that I will get a negative result and be able to stop isolating within a day or two.
"It is so so key that we all try our best to follow the guidance. I know myself that I’ve not been perfect as the months have worn on, complacency sets in and you allow yourself the odd forgetting of a mask, you avoid the hand sanitisers that smell like pure vinegar, or you sit at a desk without wiping it first.
"Lockdown in Spring was a chore, and many people made huge sacrifices, but the sunshine and the ability to see each other outside eased some of the hardship.
"A winter with Covid-19 is a much bleaker season, but if we stick together and stay apart, we’ll get through this," she added.
A full breakdown of figures across County Derry can be read in tomorrow's County Derry Post.
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