More than 150,000 rapid result coronavirus kits are set to be rolled out in the biggest community testing programme of its kind in the city.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has now taken stock of hundreds of boxes of the lateral flow tests and associated PPE so that testing in community settings across the city can be ramped up over the coming weeks. The tests involve a swab to the back of the tongue and up each nostril, and give a result inside half an hour.
The kits have arrived in the city as part of the government’s community testing offer, with Stoke-on-Trent being just one of 67 local authority areas in the country to benefit from the first wave of the programme.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “This is great news for the city and is another tool in our arsenal to beat the virus. We had put our case hard to government to be included in the roll out of the kits and it follows our success as being the first area in the country to trial tests over the past two months. This hard work is being recognised at a national level and it is thanks to the many hours of dedication by testing teams, and to all residents who have booked an appointment, turned up and followed all of the coronavirus health guidance to so well that we are now in a position to have the kits needed to ramp up this testing.
“We are now looking at testing in health and social care settings and targeting communities where data shows us case rates are high, and supporting the city’s economic infrastructure. We will be using a variety of locations and venues across the city to roll out testing.”
Residents are being urged to only book a lateral flow test if they do not have any of the three common coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. The tests are available six days a week and are taking place at even more venues this week – in Northwood, Tunstall and for the first time at the LRV Student Union at Staffordshire University’s Shelton campus.
Tests for the rest of the week are available at:
- Thursday at LRV- Students Union, Staffordshire University, 9.30am 3pm.
- Friday at Dimensions Leisure Centre 9.30am - 3pm.
- Saturday at Dimensions Leisure Centre 10am - 12pm.
Residents can book a test at www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “We know that this virus doesn’t discriminate. People without symptoms are spreading the disease without knowing it. By expanding testing arrangements to identify people showing no symptoms, it means that we can find positive cases more quickly and break the chain of transmission.
“I must stress that lateral flow testing is for people who do not have the common coronavirus symptoms. Those with mild non-specific symptoms such as a headache, feeling tired or lethargic should book a lateral flow test.”
If you have one or more of the following symptoms then you are not eligible for lateral flow testing and should instead book a test through https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, or by calling 119:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Meanwhile, pubs relying on drinks as their main source of income are being encouraged to see if they are entitled to coronavirus support grants. At the start of the month, the government announced the introduction of Christmas support payments for ‘wet-led’ pubs, where food sales make up less than 50 per cent of turnover in areas under tier two and tier three restrictions. Under the scheme a one-off grant of £1,000 is available, and the closing date is 31 January 2021.
Businesses are entitled to receive a grant for each eligible pub within the restriction area. Businesses that are in receipt of other local restriction support grants can also receive this grant. For further information on the qualifying criteria, and for details on how to apply go to www.stoke.gov.uk/businessgrants.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “The coronavirus restrictions have made life so difficult for many of our city’s wonderful businesses. We have moved quickly to make support grants available so that businesses can benefit. We encourage pubs to apply for this funding and for other businesses affected by the coronavirus to visit our website to see what support they may be entitled to.”
For the latest information on council services and support during the coronavirus, and frequently asked questions, please visit www.stoke.gov.uk/coronavirus. For latest health advice on the coronavirus, please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, and for further information on the virus visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.
For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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