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Source: City of Sunderland

Testing for people who don’t have symptoms of Covid 19 will soon be trialled in the city as part of the continued work to drive down Covid-19 rates.

This will offer access to faster turnaround tests for people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19, for the purpose of helping to reduce transmission.

This week a mobile testing team will begin working from Washington Millennium Centre in Concord to provide tests to local people. The team will work from different locations across the city as required.

This testing is being run by Sunderland City Council in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England as part of the Director of Public Health led testing programme.

A limited number of slots are available and these must be booked here https://webapps.sunderland.gov.uk/webapps/wss/sunderland_portal/forms/COVIDtest.aspx

Gerry Taylor, Sunderland’s Executive Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning, said: “As many as one in three people who have Covid have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it. This mobile testing team will help us to identify and isolate people with Covid who wouldn’t otherwise be identified as they don’t have symptoms.

“So we’re asking local people to come forward to get tested to help protect those they care about. By identifying people who are carrying Covid-19 without realising it, we can help prevent them from passing it on to others unknowingly. This is part of a range of measures in place to help us reduce transmission of the virus.”

Council Leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, added: “This is all about protecting those we care for so I would urge everyone who has the chance to go for one of these tests to take advantage of the opportunity to help keep their families and their community safe.”

The tests, which are self-administered, are quick and painless and people can expect to get their results back within hours.

If you test positive you will need to self-isolate immediately and take a follow up test of the kind offered to people with symptoms to confirm the result at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. You must self-isolate immediately for 10 days and everyone you live with must also self-isolate for 10 days. Only leave home for your follow-up test. It is only necessary to continue self-isolation if the follow-up test is also positive.

Anyone who has difficulty accessing food or medicines or needs other support to self-isolate can contact www.sunderland.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0800 234 6084.

If you test negative, although it is likely you weren’t infectious when the test was done, you could still go on to develop Covid-19. So even though your test result is negative you must continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus.

To protect yourself and others, you must continue to follow the guidance around social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly, as well as sticking to the local tier restrictions.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.

“Roughly one in three people have the virus without symptoms so could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Broadening testing to identify those showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, and break chains of transmission.

“I’m delighted that Sunderland City Council is working with us roll out asymptomatic testing in the city, and I look forward to seeing the results.”

Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “NHS Test and Trace continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19. Increased asymptomatic testing is a vital additional tool at our disposal to help identify those who are infected and infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease.

“The work of the City Council in Sunderland will be essential in driving down transmission rates. I urge all those living in areas where asymptomatic testing is offered to come forward and get tested.”

The faster turnaround tests are not for people with symptoms of Covid-19. If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and book at test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

MIL OSI United Kingdom