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Mass coronavirus testing to begin in Lancashire from next week

Posted on - 11th December, 2020 - 8:16pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
The coronavirus testing site at Preston Markets Pic: Tony Worrall
A previous coronavirus testing site at Preston Markets which was closed down Pic: Tony Worrall

Mass coronavirus testing is to begin across Lancashire during next week after successful pilot projects.

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Lateral flow testing, means those who are asymptomatic can be tested with the test kits giving a result in around half-an-hour.

Similar to the mass testing carried out in Liverpool the tests are not compulsory but the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) is encouraging everyone to take a coronavirus test if offered.

Chair of the LRF, Angie Ridgwell, said: “By testing people who aren’t showing symptoms, we can help to reduce the spread of infection in Lancashire. We’ll be increasing the number of tests over the coming weeks, as more venues become involved.

“Across Lancashire, our public sector organisations are working together to support and protect the public by reducing the spread of the virus. A lot of very complex work has already been taking place to understand the testing that we need, ahead of this programme being rolled out.

“It is really important we continue to disrupt the virus, even though we now have a vaccine. It will take time to get everyone vaccinated and while that takes place we remain at risk of getting coronavirus.

“Testing is still important and remains one of our key defences to tackle the virus. We remind people to keep following the guidance to keep each other safe – hands, face, space.”

See the latest coronavirus cases and information where you live

Myerscough College has been one of the places to pilot the lateral flow tests in recent weeks, along with a number of county council-run day centres.

The county council confirmed the Army was being called in to provide logistics support as the testing is rolled out.

Areas and communities with the highest Covid-19 rates are to be targeted first by the new testing.

Read more: All those in Lancashire who are eligible for share of £3.9m winter hardship grant

A greater role in local contact tracing, to support the NHS Test and Trace service efforts, are also being given to borough and district councils.

Covid-19 testing centres currently in operation throughout Preston and South Ribble will continue alongside the new mass testing.

Preston previously had two community Covid-19 testing sites operating throughout the summer but these were closed down as the government moved to a more centralised method of coronavirus testing centres.

It’s hoped the lateral flow tests will help to reduce infection rates across Lancashire and move the county out of tier-3 restrictions, allowing more businesses to open, household mixing restrictions can be relaxed slightly and more ‘normality’ to return.

Read more: First coronavirus vaccination takes place at Royal Preston Hospital

At the moment anyone who has symptoms can book a free Covid test by calling 119, book through the government website or via the NHS Covid app.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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