Step forward in Derby’s targeted community testing roll-out
Published: 16 December 2020
Derby City Council’s Cabinet has approved proposals to roll out its community testing plans.
Cabinet discussed its decision to utilise targeted community testing rather than what has become known as ‘mass testing’ and the way in which the programme would be set up.
It was announced last week that the Council is preparing to roll out additional community testing. Rapid testing has been selected for Derby as a tool to help identify individuals who have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms and could be inadvertently spreading the virus.
The programme will use a targeted approach, focussed on groups and individuals that are identified as being particularly at risk of catching COVID, especially those working on the front line. As well as testing, the programme will offer support for those who have to self-isolate following a positive test result.
Access to COVID-19 testing is a key building block in helping to prevent the spread of the virus along with keeping our distance, washing our hands, wearing a face covering, self-isolating and applying a test if we have symptoms, and contact tracing for those who test positive.
Alongside other forms of testing available in the city, rapid testing can provide, regular and targeted testing in selected areas and groups and will be able to provide more rapid results.
The Council is currently planning to introduce targeted, rapid testing as soon as possible. This, alongside greater access to symptomatic testing, a citywide contact tracing partnership, support for isolation and launch of the new vaccination programme, will support the city’s recovery from COVID-19 during 2021.
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said:
This is a welcome step forward in our fight to bring down COVID transmission in Derby. We believe this method of targeted community testing, concentrating on groups who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus, is our most efficient and sustainable way of rolling out asymptomatic testing.
We still have a long way to go in working our way back to normality, locally and nationally, but we do hope that further testing, coupled with the ongoing vaccination programme, will bolster this process.
Dr Robyn Dewis, Director of Public Health, Derby City Council, said:
Our Public Health team will soon be working hard to identify groups and individuals that may benefit from regular, rapid testing. We hope this will go some way to reducing cases in ‘hotspot’ areas and, in turn, keep our communities as a whole safer.
Alongside this roll-out, there is still plenty of capacity on a daily basis for symptomatic testing within our Derby-based sites, some of which are reachable for those who don’t drive. It is vital that if we experience any or all of the main COVID symptoms that we stay at home and apply for a test straight away.
Tests are currently available to all citizens of Derby who have one or more of the main COVID symptoms: a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss / change of sense of smell or taste. Tests are bookable online or by calling 119. There are local testing sites at Morleston Street Day Centre, Austin Sunnyhill Children’s Centre, and West End Community Centre for those who do not have access to a car – all of which are open seven days a week.