Kingston’s rapid Covid testing regime screens key workers

Essential workers in Kingston not showing any symptoms of Covid-19 coronavirus can get screened for the virus in 30 minutes thanks to a new rapid testing regime in the borough.

Using Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) that can check for the presence of the Covid-19 virus in 30 minutes, Kingston Council (RBK) are hoping the widespread testing of Kingston’s key workers can help fight the spread of the virus in the borough.

Health officials point out that one in three people who contract coronavirus don’t get any symptoms, so testing people who are not showing any signs of having the virus offers a key way to help track the spread of virus in communities. 

As such, key workers including teachers, key council staff like social care workers and workers in non-CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered supported living, care homes and domiciliary care, voluntary care workers and children’s home staff, along with other frontline staff, are all being offered regular tests by the council.

RBK said the above key workers were being sent invitations for twice weekly tests at two asymptomatic rapid test sites in the borough: Chessington Sports Centre and Kingston University.

RBK’s Director of Public Health Iona Lidington explained the widespread, rapid testing plan in further detail:

“Testing people working in critical roles who are showing no symptoms of COVID-19 to check if they have the virus is key to breaking the chains of transmission and driving down rates of COVID-19 across our borough,” she said.

“Regular testing for these essential workers who have to leave home to fulfil their roles will help prevent them unknowingly passing on the virus and make sure they are not putting others at risk.

“By ensuring these twice-weekly tests are readily available to all critical workers, we can keep our local services running safely, ensuring this is not at the expense of spreading the virus further,” Lidington added.

The rapid testing is designed to help break the chain of infection in the borough which, like the rest of London, is experiencing high rates of new cases of coronavirus.

New cases in Kingston up to January 6 remained high, with 1,286 new infections confirmed by Public Health England (PHE).

That nevertheless represented a slight drop in the rate of new infections from the previous seven days, down 98 or -7.1 per cent, the figures showed.

The borough’s ‘rolling rate’ of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people stood at 724.5 over the period.

The rapid testing programme is running in Kingston alongside the existing programme for testing people with Covid-19 symptoms (symptomatic testing or PCR Testing), that is already available at four venues across the borough.

Click here for more information on testing, or here to see the latest Covid rates where you live. 

Surrey Comet | Kingston