Hertfordshire County Council leader stresses importance of rapid lateral flow Covid-19 tests

Cllr Williams also highlighted the continuing roll-out of vaccines across the county

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 4:08 pm

Hertfordshire County Council leader Cllr David Williams has stressed the importance of rapid lateral flow testing for Covid-19, ‘as life begins to return to normal’.

Twice weekly testing for secondary school pupils, parents of all schoolchildren and some others has been routine for a number of weeks.

But now those rapid tests – designed to break chains of transmission – are available generally.

Coronavirus stock image

And at a meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Monday (April 19), Cllr Williams said it was “imperative” for all residents to take the tests regularly.

“As life begins to return to normal, it’s really important for all of our residents to recognise the importance of using rapid testing, up to twice a week, in order to determine whether they have been exposed to the virus or not,” he said.

Cllr Williams said it was “hugely welcome” that rates of infection had “come down drastically”. And he also highlighted the continuing roll-out of vaccines across the county.

But executive member for public health an prevention Cllr Tim Hutchings warned that despite lower infection rates ‘we are not out of the woods yet’.

Reflecting on the past 12 months, Cllr Hutchings – who is not standing for re-election on May 6 – said he wanted to recognise the difficulties and heartache experienced by residents.

“I obviously think that we have done a great job, but I think in saying that it’s important to recognise that some people have suffered and will continue to do so,” he said.

Cllr Hutchings paid tribute to ‘Team Hertfordshire’ and singled out director of public health Jim McManus, who he said had done a “fantastic job in supporting the people of Hertfordshire through the pandemic.

“I think without his hard work – and the hard work of senior colleagues – we wouldn’t be in such a great place today,” he said.

And executive member for adult care and health Cllr Richard Roberts also praised the “sterling work” of care staff and the closer working of health and social care staff during a “torrid” time.

Meanwhile executive member for resources an performance Cllr Ralph Sangster – who will also step down on May 6 – said that “after a year of extreme concern to us all” the council’s finances, in general, were “extremely strong”.

He said that the county council – which received government grants of around £60m during the pandemic – was carrying forward a small surplus into the next financial year.

And he said there was funding earmarked to cover legacy costs from the Covid-19 pandemic, to deliver services residents are expecting – and to contribute to recovery of the economy in Hertfordshire as well.

“We are one of the best positioned councils in the country both to manage the position and to look forward to support residents and the economy of Hertfordshire in the future,” he said.