Health chiefs' plan with a van to deliver swabs on wheels as Covid-19 testing goes mobile in Northamptonshire

Move follows drop in use of static sites as more people test at home, school and work

By Kevin Nicholls
Sunday, 25th July 2021, 3:46 pm

Northamptonshire s first mobile lateral flow device testing service is ready to hit the road.

Health chiefs hope their plan with a van delivering swabs on wheels will make it even easier for those with no Covid-19 symptoms to access regular testing after restrictions were lifted on Monday (July 19).

Lateral flow tests have been used by healthcare staff, students and workers in larger businesses to reduce risks of the virus being spread by people who do not know they have it.

The county's new Covid testing van hits the road next week

But numbers using static centres have dropped nationally as it became easier to get test kits to use at home.

Figures on July 14 revealed 331 new positive tests in Northamptonshire during the latest 24-hour period — the most since January 31.

And NHS England is expected to confirm later today (July 15) more Covid-19 patients are needing treatment in the county's hospitals.

Sarah Ward, Test and Trace lead for Public Health Northamptonshire said: "About one in three people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others — even if they have been fully vaccinated.

The van is kitted out like a full-blown testing centre inside

"There is no doubt LFD testing has prevented onward transmission of Covid to many others across the county since its introduction.

“The mobile unit is part of a move towards more flexible ways of working which will enable us to access communities where take-up of testing has been lower, educating visitors to the unit on how to use lateral flow tests correctly and providing a test kit to take away as well as additional information on how to source future test kits.

“LFD tests are recommended every three-to-four days to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

“Continuing to test using LFD is vitally important as we take Step Four on the roadmap with a more transmissible variant, the Delta, in circulation across Northamptonshire."

Ministers announced in April that everyone aged 16 and over is entitled to free LFD testing using static centres, click-and-collect from pharmacies and home delivery of kits.

But the mobile service will hit the road initially in Northampton but with plans to take the service county-wide in the very near future.

TIMETABLE — Daily 9.00-16.00

■ Monday to Wednesday (July 26-28) Pastures Community Centre, Welford Road

■ Thursday to Saturday (July 29-31) Kings Heath Recreation Ground, Nene Way

Anyone WITH any Covid-19 symptoms — high temperature, new, continuous cough or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste — should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test HERE or call 119.