RAPID coronavirus tests for people without symptoms will begin in Stratford next week, in a bid to identify undiagnosed cases and stop people ‘unwittingly spreading the virus’.
A new test centre, due to open on Tuesday January 12, will use fast-turnaround lateral flow test kits supplied by NHS Test and Trace, with the aim of protecting those most at risk and helping the town start to return to normal life.
Lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of people without symptoms, making it easier to identify and isolate more people who could spread the virus, and to break the chains of transmission.
The new test centre complements testing facilities already up and running in Leamington, Rugby, Bedworth, Nuneaton and Water Orton.
Dr Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council, said: “This is the sixth test centre to open in Warwickshire to the local community.
“The new testing facility will play a key role in tackling Covid-19. By testing people who don’t have symptoms, we are hoping to identify those who are not aware that they have the virus and may be unwittingly spreading it to other people – including friends, loved ones and work colleagues.
“By breaking the chain of transmission and picking up those who are asymptomatic, we hope that we will reduce the spread of the virus and protect those who are most at risk.
“The tests are really simple to do using a swab from your nose and mouth, and you will be supported throughout the process by the test centre staff.
“Results are quick and should you test positive, help and advice is available. We would advise that residents take up the opportunity to get tested weekly to ensure that they help to reduce the spread of the virus in their community.
“Only by working together can we make a difference, so please play your part, support your community and go along to your nearest testing facility and get a free test.”
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “Innovations such as lateral flow testing holds 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 Rugby Borough Council are working with us to pilot the latest technology in Rugby, 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.”
Details of how to book a test at the new centre will be announced closer to the January 12 opening.