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Council at forefront of battling virus as test kits arrive

Arrangements now being finalised to deploy kits in 'hot-spot' areas

Nick Rushton with lateral flow test kits

County council leader Nick Rushton has welcomed the arrival of the first batch of lateral flow test kits – up to 16,000 - as the fight goes on to drive down coronavirus infection rates across the county.

He said that receiving the test kits puts the county at the forefront of the plan to expand asymptomatic testing across the country with pilot schemes now running across more than 60 local authorities.

For the period 19th to 25th November, infection rates stood at 193.7 per 100,000 of the Leicestershire population compared to the national rate of 175.8 per 100,000, so the arrival of the test kits signals the latest measure to continue bringing down infection rates.

It’s welcome news that the kits have arrived, we can now start the work of getting them to ‘hot-spots’ where infection rates are high. The more people we can test, the more we’ll be able to bring this virus under control. I would urge anyone with any symptoms, no matter how mild, to book a test

Mike Sandys, director of public health for Leicestershire County Council, has outlined in more detail how the test kits work. He said: “The challenge has always been that some people who have Covid-19 don’t show any symptoms.

"Where the lateral flow tests differ from the usual swab kits is that there’ll be a test result within an hour, without the need for lab processing.

"It now means we can test high-risk groups, help identify cases and then get people to self-isolate quickly to break the chain of infection.”

The trialling of the tests also supports the tireless work being done by the county council’s own test and trace teams. The teams use local networks to identify people who may not have been tracked down through national test and trace procedures.

Mike Sandys added: “The focus of our teams is to contact and offer support to vulnerable people. Regular testing will protect them. This can be through offering advice to people with symptoms, providing advice to those self-isolating, putting families in touch with community hubs, and tips such as getting priority on online food deliveries.”

The council can draw down from the national supply as needed, but it is looking to have a stock of 10,000 kits at any one time to deploy rapidly.

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