People in Chesterfield will shortly be able to get a Covid-19 test – even if they do not have symptoms – as part of plans to roll out rapid, targeted community testing across the county.
Derbyshire is to become one of the first areas in the country to introduce the new approach to community testing.
This is a different approach to that seen in Liverpool. Tests will be targeted at people living within communities where there are outbreaks or rising infection rates. This will support Derbyshire’s Public Health team to understand the prevalence of people who are infected but without symptoms, support those who have Covid-19 to self-isolate and to drive infection rates down.
People who come to be tested will be given one of the rapid ‘lateral flow’ tests which give results in about 15 minutes. If they test positive, they will then be given a further test to confirm the result.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “This is good news for Chesterfield and our surrounding areas – presenting a great opportunity for us to bring infection rates down across the borough.
“This is another tool in our local fight against the virus, but it doesn’t replace the need for us all to continue to abide by the ongoing restrictions to keep our communities safe, and help curb the spread of infections so we can get back to some sense of normality as soon as possible.”
Testing will begin in Swadlincote in South Derbyshire with Bolsover and Amber Valley to follow shortly afterwards. The details of locations will be worked through with the military team over the coming days.
In mid to late January and February testing is also expected to be carried out in Bakewell and Chesterfield. This new approach to rapid, targeted community testing will focus on areas with outbreaks or rising infection rates including workplaces and schools.
Details of the community testing sites and how people can attend them will be released in due course.
Alongside the test, residents will also be offered advice and help on the financial support that they may be entitled to if they do need to self-isolate.
Testing for people with Covid-19 symptoms will continue alongside community testing and anyone who has a high temperature, a continuous cough or has lost their sense of smell or taste should book a test online in the usual way.
Dean Wallace, Director of Public Health at Derbyshire County Council, said: “We put ourselves forward to be one of the first areas in the country to deliver community testing because we want to improve life for Derbyshire people.
“By pressing ahead with this - despite the significant logistical challenges of finding locations for test sites, staff and equipment and the council effectively providing a whole new service – we can help people in Derbyshire to protect themselves and their loved ones and drive down infection rates.
“Community testing has a big role to play in driving infection rates down, but it only works as part of a whole suite of measures including effective contact tracing, following the guidance around socialising and self-isolation and the roll-out of the vaccine.
“Getting tested doesn’t mean people can stop social distancing, wearing masks or washing their hands, but it does help to make the activities they are undertaking safer.
“People who come to be tested will be given one of the rapid lateral flow tests which give results in about 15 minutes. If they test positive, they will then be given a further test to confirm the result.
“By getting tested, even if you don’t have symptoms, you are doing the right thing and ultimately helping people to stay well, businesses to stay open, children to stay in school and hospitals to have the capacity to treat other illness like cancer.
“As a resident of Derbyshire, I call on everyone who has the opportunity to get a test to take it, be part of this and keep showing that amazing Derbyshire spirit.”