Local rapid Covid-19 testing to be rolled out in Stratford

Published: 07 January 2021

Covid testing for people without coronavirus symptoms is set to be rolled out in the Stratford next week with the aim of protecting those most at risk.

The new test centre will be in addition to the testing facilities already running in Bedworth, Leamington, Nuneaton, Rugby and Water Orton. Those using the site will be tested using fast-turnaround lateral flow test kits supplied by NHS Test and Trace in a bid to identify undiagnosed cases and stop people 'unwittingly spreading the virus'.

The centre, which is being delivered in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, Warwickshire County Council, Stratford District Council, and a network including volunteers, aims to help us work towards returning life to as normal as possible.

The tests will be available for those without symptoms of Covid-19 from Tuesday 12 January 2021 at The Other Place, Royal Shakespeare, CV37 6BH.

The tests are available for booking between 8.15am and 8pm, Monday to Friday and 10.15am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday and can be used weekly. The service uses the fast turnaround lateral flow test kits, which can deliver results in around an hour. Tests can be booked here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/stratford-upon-avon-covid-community-testing-32080684767 (booking will be available soon).

Lateral flow antigen tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of people without symptoms, better enabling us to identify and isolate more people who are at high likelihood of spreading virus and break the chains of transmission.

Please note, only people without Covid-19 symptoms should book a test. Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, that is a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change to their sense of taste or smell – must self-isolate and book a test via https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119 as usual.

With the current lockdown residents are permitted to leave home for testing. However, we are urging those still working within the community on the frontline or in places such as shops, early years settings or distribution centres to take advantage of the new service to get tested weekly.

Talking about the test centre for Stratford, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council, Dr Shade Agboola said:

“The opening of the test centre in Stratford is key to helping us to identify those who may be carrying the virus and not yet know it, which in turn will help us isolate people quicker and drive down the risk and reduce the number of cases of Covid-19.

“The test centre will have the capacity to test 2,740 residents each week and is open to residents of all ages. By testing people who don’t have symptoms and picking up those who are asymptomatic, we are hoping to break the chain of transmission, reduce the spread of the virus and protect those who are most at risk.

"The tests are really simple to do using a swab from your nose and mouth, and you will be supported throughout the process by the test centre staff. Results are quick and should you test positive, help and advice is available at https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/information-coronavirus/coronavirus-services-support/1.

“Just because you don’t feel ill, it doesn’t mean that you won’t go onto develop symptoms later, so please get a test and protect the ones you love. Only by working together can we really make a difference and reduce the numbers of cases of Covid-19 within Warwickshire communities.”

Councillor Jo Barker, People Portfolio at Stratford-on-Avon District Council says: "Really pleased that we are opening the new lateral flow test centre in Stratford-upon-Avon. If you know you've not got Covid-19 - then normal life comes that bit closer and little by little life re-opens for all of us. With vaccinations ramping up as well, maybe 2021 is going to be OK."

Health Minister Lord Bethell continued: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.

“Innovations such as lateral flow testing holds the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country.

“I’m delighted that Warwickshire County Council along with colleagues Stratford District Council are working with us to pilot the latest technology in Stratford, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally, and helping find ways to roll this technology out further soon.”

For Covid advice and support, please visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk