BURY is continuing to battle with a growing coronavirus outbreak as the number of positive cases is still spiralling upwards.

New test centres have opened this week but they are struggling to cope with demand and residents are facing an up hill battle and a long wait to get tested.

Council leader Cllr Eamonn O’Brien said he was deeply concerned about the testing issues which he said are being caused by a ‘fundamental lack of availability in the national system’.

He added: “The Government need to get a grip on testing capacity. It’s not enough to say there’s capacity in the system if it is not where it is needed.There needs to be a rethink.”

Covid-19 case rates in Bury are still rising, according to latest week-on-week figures. For the seven days to September 12, the number of cases was 162.

This equates to 84.9 per 100,000 people for the week, up from 120 cases, or 62.8 per 100,000, for the seven days to September 5. The average for England is around 30.

As the outbreak grows, people in need of a Covid-19 test in Bury have faced lengthy queues and a long wait at the borough’s two newly opened centres at The Mosses and Chesham Fold.

Over the last week the centres are said to have continually been ‘overwhelmed’ by the volume of visitors.

Earlier this week queues were said to be stretching from the entrance to The Mosses to the car park near DW Fitness First Bury. One key worker caught up in the snaking line outside the centre branded the testing programme ‘farcical’.

He said that he had tried to get an appointment at the nearest available centre, which was in Oldham.

But after he found out about The Mosses, which does not require appointments, he was forced to endure a three-hour wait in a queue outside.

He added: “The system’s infrastructure cannot cope and it is only going to get worse as more people get colds with the change in season.

“The Government promised quick turnaround in tests but that has not materialised and people are being forced to stay in which will have a detrimental effect on their mental health.

“It is so draining I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and it just a farce.”

Part of the problem stems from too many people with no symptoms turning up at the new walk-in coronavirus testing centres, according to health bosses.

As demand for testing is rising in Bury and across England efforts are being made to increase capacity, Bury Council has said.

However, to ensure tests are available to those who really need them, health bosses have issued an urgent appeal.

They are asking residents to only request a test if they have symptoms of coronavirus ­— such as a high temperature, new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Cllr Andrea Simpson, health cabinet member, said: “It’s really important that only people who have symptoms turn up at the centres. If you don’t have symptoms, please don’t request a test; this creates a bottleneck in our already pressured system and unnecessary delays for people that really need one.”

Earlier this week it was announced that two previously-advertised walk-through locations at Whitefield Library, where people had been queueing on Monday, and the Metro Christian Centre, in Parkhills Road, are not currently open.

However, it is expected that these centres and others in Radcliffe, Red Vales and Whitefield will be brought on line in the coming weeks.

But, if these sites continue to be inundated by people who are symptom-free, Cllr Simpson warned that they may have change to become appointment-only.

Meanwhile, a drive-through testing centre remains at Waterfold Business Park. People must request an appointment to be tested at this site.