North Warwickshire to lead the way in mass Covid-19 testing for the county

  Posted: 05.12.20 at 14:00 by The Editor

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Locally led testing for people without coronavirus symptoms is set to be rolled out across Warwickshire in the next few weeks with North Warwickshire leading the way.

The first test centre in the county is to be based in the district and will be opening on Tuesday 8 December at Water Orton Community Hall.

Fast-turnaround lateral flow test kits supplied by NHS Test and Trace will be used for testing in a bid to identify undiagnosed cases and stop people 'unwittingly spreading the virus'.

The first test centre, which is being delivered in partnership with the Department of Public Health, Warwickshire County Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, and a network including volunteers, aims to help us work towards returning life to as normal as possible.

People aged 18 and over without symptoms of Covid-19 are invited to book a test by visiting this website.

The tests are available for booking between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. The service uses the fast turnaround lateral flow test kits, which can deliver results in around an hour.

Lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of people without symptoms, better enabling us to identify and isolate more people who are at high likelihood of spreading virus and break the chains of transmission.

Only people without Covid-19 symptoms should book a test. Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 – a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change to their sense of taste or smell – must self-isolate and book a test via the government's website or by calling 119 as usual.

David Wright Leader North Warwickshire Borough Council said “The news that North Warwickshire will host the first community testing site in Warwickshire is much welcomed and is part of our continuing work with the government to get us out of Tier Three.

"We have seen a significant fall in rates of infection in North Warwickshire this past week, despite this we currently sit in Tier Three with the highest-level restrictions.

“We are very hopeful that community testing will help to identify people who are carrying the virus, but aren’t displaying any symptoms, they will then be able to isolate and stop the spread and subsequently help towards easing our restrictions.

"A lot of hard work has gone into setting up this testing site and I am very grateful for all involved in making this happen, another fantastic example of partnership working throughout these unprecedented times.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.

“Innovations such as lateral flow testing hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country.

“I’m delighted that Warwickshire County Council along with colleagues at North Warwickshire Borough Council are working with us to pilot the latest technology in Water Orton, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further soon.”

Additional tests sites are also being planned for Nuneaton, Bedworth, Leamington Rugby and Stratford.

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