- Stockton is one of 67 councils in Tier 3 areas set to benefit from enhanced community testing as part of our Covid Winter Plan.
- More than 1.6 million rapid-turnaround tests across England will be deployed for immediate use this month.
- Community testing offers a route out for those living under the toughest restrictions, helping reduce cases in areas where need is greatest.
Matt Vickers has welcomed the news that Stockton on Tees is to benefit from the Government’s latest expansion of asymptomatic testing, as part its Covid Winter Plan. It was hoped that the programme would be up and running as soon as 21st December and indeed a scheme is already up and running in Darlington.
Stockton Council plan to open the government funded testing scheme across three sites; Splash in Stockton, The Forum in Billingham and the Pavillion in Thornaby. Unfortunately the council do not feel they will be in a position to open the first of these until 6th January. Matt is in regular contact with the council and will continue to push for the facilities to be opened as soon as possible. Further details of how to book a test will be published on facebook asap.
More than 1.6 million rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests will be deployed immediately for use this month in the first wave of areas currently in Tier 3 across England – including in Stockton on Tees.
Over 100 local authorities are currently engaged with the programme, which run for a minimum of 6 weeks, with more Tier 3 rollouts due to begin over the coming weeks and into the new year.
Community testing builds on the 1.5 million rapid-turnaround testing kits that have been delivered to 90 local authorities across all levels of tier restrictions, expanding the capacity for asymptomatic testing.
Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals will help identify those who unknowingly have the virus, breaking the chains of transmission in communities where infections are highest and offer a route out for those areas living under the toughest restrictions as we work to keep the virus under control.
Commenting, Matt Vickers said:
“While we continue to make fantastic progress on the rollout of a vaccine, we cannot afford to become complacent about the threat of coronavirus, which continues to remain a real danger within our communities.
“I recently met with Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Testing Minister to make the case for Stockton to get resource to be part of the community testing programme and I’m delighted we’re to be part of the roll out. I continue to maintain a regular dialogue with the council and our local hospitals who I am sure will also welcome the news.
“Community testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to break the chain of transmission and drive down the infection rate in areas like min, and I would encourage everyone in Stockton, Thornaby, Yarm & Ingleby Barwick to get tested so together we can keep the virus under control.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“I am really pleased to announce the first areas embarking on enhanced community testing programmes - after the successful work in Liverpool. With one in three people with coronavirus showing no symptoms, increased community testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease.
“Community testing will be very important in helping the areas where levels of the virus are highest to drive down infection rates and ultimately will help areas ease tougher restrictions.
“This is just the start, and we are working quickly to roll out community testing more widely as soon as more local teams are ready. I urge all those living in areas where community testing is offered to come forward and get tested.”