Targeted asymptomatic testing launches in Kent on Friday, with the first sites in Swale and Thanet to be followed by a rolling programme across the county to try to reduce the rates of Covid-19.
These sites are in addition to the DHSC run regional and local test sites for people who have symptoms. The asymptomatic testing will find people who don’t currently have symptoms who may be unknowingly spreading the virus.
People will be invited to testing by a letter or email and we encourage everyone who is invited to go and get a test.
KCC has been working closely with Swale Borough Council and Thanet District Council to identify the sites at the Sheerness East Working Men’s Club in Halfway, and Ramsgate Port, which will be opening on Friday (18th Dec) and this is the start of a roll out of asymptomatic testing sites across the whole of Kent.
Residents attending this testing will undergo a lateral flow swab test and will receive their result within half an hour of attending the test. If they are positive, they will be told to self-isolate, follow the national guidance and they will be instructed to have a PCR test to confirm their positive result. If they are negative, they must still continue to observe social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash hands.
All Kent residents are urged to keep following the tier three restrictions and limit their social interactions and people are reminded of the importance of self-isolating, not only when they have received a positive test but also while they are awaiting their test results.
KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “As many as one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. We want to identity as many positive cases as possible, especially those who may not have any symptoms and are unknowingly transmitting the virus.
We will ask anyone who tests positive to stay at home for 10 days and self-isolate, to help break the chain of transmission. This is vitally important to stop COVID-19 from spreading in the community, particularly to people who could become very sick if they catch the virus.”
Staff have been recruited to the asymptomatic testing sites using funding from central Government to support local councils in tier 3 to help reduce rates.
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.
“Roughly one in three people have the virus without symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.
“I’m delighted that Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council and Thanet District Council are working with us roll out community testing in Swale and Thanet, and I look forward to seeing the results.”
Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19. Increased community testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease.
“The work of Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council and Thanet District Council will be essential in driving down transmission rates. I urge all those living in areas where community testing is offered to come forward and get tested.”
For more information, got to www.kent.gov.uk/protectkent