Targeted asymptomatic testing launches in Kent on Friday (December 18), with the first sites in Swale and Thanet to be followed by a rolling programme across the county to try to reduce the rates of Covid-19.
KCC has been working closely with Swale Borough Council and Thanet District Council to identify the sites at the Sheerness East Working Men’s Club in Halfway, and Ramsgate Port, which will be opening on Friday. This is the start of a roll out of asymptomatic testing sites across the whole of Kent.
These sites are in addition to the DHSC run regional and local test sites for people who have symptoms, including those at Manston and Margate. The asymptomatic testing will find people who don’t currently have symptoms who may be unknowingly spreading the virus.
People will be invited to testing by a letter or email.
Residents attending this testing will undergo a lateral flow swab test and will receive their result within half an hour of attending the test. If they are positive, they will be told to self-isolate, follow the national guidance and they will be instructed to have a PCR test to confirm their positive result.
If they are negative, they must still continue to observe social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash hands.
All Kent residents are urged to keep following the tier three restrictions and limit their social interactions and people are reminded of the importance of self-isolating, not only when they have received a positive test but also while they are awaiting their test results.
KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “As many as one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. We want to identity as many positive cases as possible, especially those who may not have any symptoms and are unknowingly transmitting the virus.
“We will ask anyone who tests positive to stay at home for 10 days and self-isolate, to help break the chain of transmission. This is vitally important to stop COVID-19 from spreading in the community, particularly to people who could become very sick if they catch the virus.”
Staff have been recruited to the asymptomatic testing sites using funding from central Government to support local councils in tier 3 to help reduce rates.
Government data shows 145 new positive cases reported for Thanet today (December 14) making a seven day total of 638, a rise of 6.7% on the preceding seven days. A total of 5,255 positive tests have been recorded for Thanet.
The rolling seven day rate per 100,000 people is 421.4 as of December 9, a rise on the figure for the previous day.
Two deaths within 28 days of a positive test has been recorded today, making 17 in the last seven days and 197 as of December 13 (loss of life within 28 days of a positive test). Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.
The latest data published by NHS England shows a rise in the number of patients with Covid being cared for in East Kent Hospitals.
The trust had 227 covid patients as of December 8, a rise from 121 on December 1. This figure is for the main hospitals at Margate, Ashford and, to a lesser degree, Canterbury.
The data shows 18 mechanical ventilation beds in use for patients with confirmed positive covid tests.
The data does not record how many patients are in individual hospitals although a source informs The Isle of Thanet News that currently (week ending December 13) patients are QEQM 112, Ashford 98 and Canterbury 14.
The trust has recorded 618 covid related deaths across its hospitals since the pandemic began up to December 12 and recorded 47 covid related deaths between December 1-7. Data for December 8-12 shows 22 recorded deaths but NHS England warns figures for these dates could change as post mortem tests and data are validated.
Details of Covid attributed deaths data: NHS England and NHS Improvement publish the number of patients who have died in hospital and tested positive for COVID-19 in England. Since Tuesday 28 April, NHS England and NHS Improvement also reports the number of patient deaths where there has been no COVID-19 positive test result, but where COVID-19 is documented as a direct or underlying cause of death on part 1 or part 2 of the death certification process. This change has been introduced for deaths that occurred on 24 April and subsequently.
This means the NHS England and NHS Improvement data collection provides information on all COVID related (suspected and confirmed) deaths in England hospitals.