A symptom-free testing programme to help drive down covid transmission rates has been launched in Swindon.
Swindon Borough Council says research shows that around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing it.
Symptom-free testing will help to identify workers who are not displaying symptoms in order to break chains of transmission in the community and provide further resilience to the essential services residents rely on.
The first phase of the programme, which is being co-ordinated by the council, began today - 15 February - and is being offered to a targeted group of critical workers who are unable to work from home during lockdown or are providing care.
This initial cohort of eligible workers, which includes Early Year practitioners, carers and eligible council staff, have already been contacted by the council, with plans in place to expand the programme to more critical workers as testing capacity increases.
Cllr Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “It’s been all hands on deck to get the symptom-free testing programme up and running over the last few weeks.
“Although we are in lockdown, there are still a number of residents who continue to go into work to support the essential services we all rely on.
“Symptom-free testing is another tool at our disposal that will help us to identify positive covid-19 cases quicker and protect the most vulnerable people in our community.
“If you are contacted by the council to let you know you are eligible for symptom-free testing, then I would urge you to make use of this new provision and get tested regularly.”
Two initial testing sites have been mobilised at Foundation Park on County Ground Lane and Waterside Park in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate. The sites will be open for pre-booked appointments only.
The symptom-free tests are able to generate rapid results on site without laboratory equipment. Those who get tested can expect to receive their results back within two hours of completing their test.
If a resident has symptoms of coronavirus they should self-isolate immediately and book a symptomatic test through the NHS by calling 119 or booking online at: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
The symptom-free testing programme is being offered in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care. For further information visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-testing-explainer/community-testing-a-guide-for-local-delivery