TESTING remains the key to the continued fight against Covid in Warwickshire.
That is the message from Dr Shade Agboola, director of Public Health Warwickshire, as the county marks a year since asymptomatic testing started in Warwickshire with the opening of the first public lateral flow test site.
In total six test sites, including in Leamington, Rugby and Stratford, were set up to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 using lateral flow tests.
At the peak of the pandemic, 277 staff were employed at the centres, some of who were redeployed Warwickshire County Council (WCC) employees and officers from the fire and rescue service.
There was also support from WCC’s community partners at WCAVA, with 366 of its volunteers stepping up to support their communities by welcoming people at test sites and giving out information.
During the past year, Warwickshire’s lateral flow testing mechanisms have completed and given out some 318,000 test kits to people without symptoms of Covid-19.
More than 213,000 lateral flow tests have been completed in person at test sites across the county, contributing to the identification of 1,410 positive cases.
Throughout the pandemic, WCC’s mobile testing vehicle has also been visiting locations across the county. Staff have handed out over 90,000 LFT test kits in areas where cases had increased. Thirty community collect sites across the county have also been instrumental in increasing testing rates, issuing some 15,000 test kits.
Dr Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health Warwickshire said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on Warwickshire communities and Public Health Warwickshire have been working tirelessly throughout with a range of partners to ensure that communities had access to testing.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the last year who has helped to make testing a huge success in the county. That includes those setting up the test sites, organising staffing, distributing test kits, sourcing community locations for delivering services and most of all, those carrying out the testing.
“I would also like to thank the communities of Warwickshire for stepping up and getting tested. Testing remains a key tool in our armoury against the fight against COVID-19 and I would like that to continue.
“Finally, I would urge everyone to take the opportunity to ensure they have had their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations – with an expanded vaccination programme we are hoping to see many more people come forward to get protected. This is key to reducing the spread of the virus in Warwickshire communities.”
WCC health spokeswoman Coun Margaret Bell said the past 12 months had been difficult, but testing had played a key role in keeping reducing cases of Covid.
She added: “I am very proud of our staff and volunteers for everything they have done working tirelessly to ensure that residents could access testing in a Covid safe way.
“Testing still remains key in Warwickshire and with test kits more accessible now than ever before, I would urge Warwickshire residents to continue with twice weekly testing, especially as we move into the festive period where families and friends will be coming together to spend time with the ones they love.”
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covidtesting for further details.