Devon County Council is working with partners to ensure that rapid ’30 minute’ community testing for people without COVID-19 symptoms will soon be available across Devon.
It follows the government announcement on January 10 that it is expanding asymptomatic community testing across the UK.
Approximately one in three people who have coronavirus do not display symptoms.
Community testing will help to find individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms and need to isolate and who may inadvertently be spreading the virus.
A positive or negative result will not remove the need to follow existing COVID-19 measures socially and in the workplace.
Organisations and employers who have staff and workers who would be eligible for testing are encouraged to register their details. Further information and updates are available on the Devon County Council website.
Critical workers and those in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals, such as carers, will be prioritised.
Rapid ‘lateral flow tests’, which provide a result within thirty minutes, will be used.
Community testing will complement and not substitute national coronavirus testing – anyone with symptoms should book a free NHS test using the GOV.UK website or by calling 119.
The first testing site will open at County Hall in Exeter towards the end of January, with further sites to open across Devon through February and March.
This will support existing testing arrangements and complement the national roll-out of lateral flow tests in some settings such as universities and schools and with some large employers.
Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:
“We are setting up the community testing programme at a fast pace. Once in place, it will provide us with a useful tool for identifying people who are asymptomatic, who otherwise could be spreading the virus without their knowledge. This will help to break the chain of transmission and help slow the spread and protect other people.”
Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said:
“In the face of this pandemic, we want to do what we can to keep Devon working, and working safely. This will enable key workers, and for example, people who care for vulnerable people, to know that they are doing so as safely as possible.”