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Health blog takeover: with Sapper Matthew Oakes

A message about testing from Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health and Sapper Matthew Oakes, originally from Wirral.

Dear residents,

As you will know, this week we saw the start of symptom free community testing for COVID-19 across Wirral with four sites offering tests to anyone who lives or works in the borough. Through this testing we can find people who have Covid-19 who may otherwise not be identified.

So far, your response has been fantastic as you’ve arrived in your thousands to get tested for your loved ones, for our vulnerable and importantly, for Wirral.

And if you’ve not had the chance to get down to a testing site yet, please do.

This week, I want to hand the rest of my message to you over to Sapper Matthew Oakes – originally from New Ferry and who some of you might have seen if you’ve attended the Eastham Library Testing site.

Matthew has supported our local teams in setting up the sites and delivering tests this week and, as a former ‘local lad’, he is encouraging the people of Wirral to get tested.

Here’s a message from Matthew as we near the end of our first week of symptom free testing…

Sapper Matthew Oakes, said: “We arrived on Sunday to help set up the sites and have been delivering testing throughout the week to anyone who turns up.

“The tests are really simple, you just turn up and we talk you through the process. It takes about half an hour to receive your results but, depending on how busy we are, it should be about 10 minutes for you to get through the site.

“I think it’s really important that people in Wirral take advantage of this opportunity and get a test, especially with Christmas around the corner.

“If you test positive, you then need to isolate so you don’t spread the virus to others but, if you test negative that doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the rules too. You still need to keep following the Government guidelines and come back for another test every week or so.

“I think everyone, especially our key workers, shop worker people like that, should come down for a test.

“It’s a really easy thing for most people, and it could potentially be saving lives at the end of the day.”


I can’t thank those of you who’ve taken part so far enough.

If you have any questions about the testing or opening times of the sites visit for more information, read the Symptom Free Testing FAQs here or you can call Wirral’s Coronavirus helpline on 0151 666 5050.

If you test positive, you will need to book in for a ‘PCR test’ and follow the self-isolation guidance here.

And if you receive a negative test result, keep doing the right things and we’ll see you for your next test in a few days’ time.

  • Keep washing your hands
  • Wearing a face covering
  • Keeping your distance

Thanks for reading,


Watch video: Former 'local lad' Sapper Matthew Oakes talks about the importance of getting tested for those who live and work in Wirral.