Three pop-up Covid-19 testing sites for people without symptoms are being launched in Fenland next week, to help residents living in areas with high virus rates to access rapid tests.
The move comes as part of a rapid testing initiative launched by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council and supported by Fenland District Council, aimed at people who are leaving home regularly for work, volunteering or training. Up to one in three people with Covid-19 infection show no signs of the disease, so regular testing of people without symptoms is important, ideally twice a week.
Covid-19 cases in Fenland are declining but remain much higher than in other parts of Cambridgeshire. To help people access rapid testing closer to where they live, three pop-up sites are being launched in the following locations from Monday 15 March:
The pop-up sites will consist of a designated sheltered testing area, with social distancing measures in place. No appointment is needed to get a test, just turn up on the day testing is taking place.
Regular rapid testing of people without symptoms enables positive virus cases to be identified quickly, ensuring that people can self-isolate, helping to control the spread of the virus. The new pop-up sites are in addition to seven rapid testing sites across the county which are already up and running.
Cllr Chris Boden, Leader of Fenland District Council and a councillor at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We know that around one in three people with COVID-19 show no symptoms and can spread it without realising. So it's vital that anyone who has to leave home regularly for work, volunteering or training takes part in rapid testing to help break the chain of infection. Having rapid tests regularly - ideally twice a week - will help us get back to a more normal life, more quickly."
Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: "The rapid testing that we are offering across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is an important way to help reduce rates of Covid-19 and make a success of the government's road map.
"We are introducing the new pop-up sites in Fenland because although virus rates are declining here, they are still high in comparison to other areas locally and nationally. The reasons for this include Fenland having a large working age population with many people in frontline jobs where they cannot work from home. This puts them at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus. So we would urge anyone leaving home regularly for work, volunteering or training, to please access a rapid test twice a week and help us drive down rates of infection.
"Anyone with one or more Covid-19 symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a change or loss in their sense of taste or smell, should not attend the rapid testing site but should stay at home and book a test online on the government website or by calling 119."
Both councils are continuing to promote rapid testing to businesses with large frontline workforces, offering them the opportunity to set up their own testing programmes and highlighting the rapid testing sites. In the week commencing 1 March a total of 7,679 tests were carried out at rapid testing sites and workplaces across the county.
For more information about rapid testing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and to book a test at your nearest site visit the Cambridgeshire County Council rapid testing webpage.