Lateral flow test centres across Leicestershire are being opened up to all residents next week as lockdown restrictions start to ease across the country.
The move means that anyone living or working in the county without symptoms can take a quick swab test at one of seven community test centres – until now, only people who had to leave home to work could book a slot.
It's one of a number of measures being taken by Leicestershire County Council to help stem the spread of the virus as the rules relax. The council is also making home test kits available to anyone in regular contact with school-age children – kits can be collected from the community test centres - and pushing out messages across social media encouraging people to stay safe in parks and gardens if meeting up with friends and family.
Rates in Leicestershire are at their lowest since late last summer. We’re seeing odd spikes in a couple of places but overall, it’s a good picture and I want to thank people for heeding the advice.Person:Mike Sandys, the council’s director of public health
Starting to open up is the trickiest point. Sadly, we’re not quite out of the woods yet and although the vaccine is rolling out and people are craving normality, if we go too fast too soon we’re likely to see more cases.
The advice to stay cautious comes ahead of 29 March, when people will be able to meet outside in groups of up to six, or two households, in parks or private gardens.
Mike continued: “Spring has sprung and I suspect our parks will be popular so I’d urge people to keep on using their common sense and stay safe. This is especially important if you’re going into someone’s garden. You might be tempted to pop inside – but remember the virus is spreading much more easily indoors. It’s so important to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“Testing is important but it doesn’t give you a free pass – you must still follow the guidance. It only takes 10 minutes to have a swab test at one of our centres. And by opening up our test centres to everyone, we’re helping people to lead more normal lives as well as breaking the chains of infection.”
So far, 21,300 tests have been carried out at the seven testing centres which are located at:
- Blaby and District Social Centre, LE8 4GQ
- Gorse Covert Community Centre, Loughborough, LE11 4RZ
- Harborough Leisure Centre (Bowls Hall), LE16 9HF
- Polish Club, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0AN
- Swannington Village Hall, LE67 8QL
- Westfield Community Centre, Hinckley, LE10 0LN
- Freer Centre, LE18 1HQ