Suffolk to get 75,000 rapid Covid-19 tests per week, public health team confirms
PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 21 November 2020
Suffolk is in line to get 75,000 rapid tests per week in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lateral flow tests give a result within 10-30 minutes for people not displaying symptoms, and earlier this week were offered to 67 areas in England for mass testing known as Operation Moonshot.
As Suffolk is one of the counties with the lowest numbers of cases in the country it was not announced in that phase, but public health chiefs in the county have confirmed authorities not on that list have been offered the tests at their discretion.
MORE: Suffolk Covid-19 testing capacity increased
In Suffolk, rapid tests totalling around 10% of the county’s population will be offered each week – around 75,000 tests weekly.
Richard Cracknell, co-ordinator of Public Health Suffolk’s local outbreak control plan, said: “These test kits provide a rapid turnaround without the need for a laboratory.
“This is a new technology and our team are working closely, and looking at the evidence to make sure the tests are used in the most beneficial way for Suffolk.”
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The public health team said it would need to request those kits, which can be delivered within 48 hours of the order being placed, and will be delivered to specific locations identified for testing.
A county council spokeswoman said the plan was for them to be available “as soon as possible” with priority areas being worked up and signed off by public health chiefs.
The tests should also help reduce the length of time for self-isolating in instances where people are isolating as a precaution.
Dr Padmanabhan Badrinath, public health consultant in Suffolk, said: “If people come into contact they need to isolate for 14 days.
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“That has an impact on the frontline workers at hospitals or police, so the Government is thinking of something called test and release, so that people can be tested with a lateral flow test once, maybe once more after seven days and we can release them so they don’t have to keep isolating.
“The science is in a very very early stage but that will come on very quickly and as soon as this has come in we will look at this for Suffolk.”
Elsewhere, local contact tracing rates are at 87% according to latest figures, with work to isolate individuals and contact those they have come into contact with beginning less than 24 hours after a positive test.
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