Norfolk health chief: 'Get tested before you meet up'

Lateral flow testing involves taking a mouth and nasal swab to see whether coronavirus is present in the body

More than 6,200 people in Norfolk have had lateral flow tests. - Credit: Suffolk County Council

People in Norfolk are being urged to get a Covid test before they take advantage of the rule of six and meet up in groups of family and friends.

More than 6,200 people in Norfolk have taken part in rapid testing for coronavirus  - as health bosses revealed a system which allows people to get the tests without having to book could be trialled.

The testing, aimed at people who do not have symptoms has, so far, identified 47 people who had Covid-19, with a number of community sites around the county offering results in about 30 minutes.

That is a positive rate of about 1pc, but public health bosses said that was helping to stop the virus spreading, as those people and their close contacts were told to self-isolate.

Attleborough is the latest place where people are able to get tests, joining sites in King's Lynn, Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Thetford, Watton, Sprowston, Spixworth, Cringleford, Trowse, Costessey, Hellesdon and Easton. 

And Diane Steiner, deputy director of public health in Norfolk, urged more people to get tested - to help stop spreading Covid-19 to others.

A local lockdown would be a last resort to combat a fresh rise in cases of coronavirus in Norfolk, a

Diane Steiner, deputy director of public health in Norfolk. - Credit: Archant

Speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk, she said: "Around one in three people with Covid don't have symptoms and testing will help identify more cases we wouldn't otherwise find and that means we can further prevent transmission of the virus.

"That's really important while the numbers are lower, to find the cases and to slow the rising cases as lockdown eases.

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"It's interesting, it's now accounting for about 30pc of the positive cases we're finding so it's really important and I would advise anyone with access to symptom-free testing to get tested regularly."

Ms Steiner said it helped everyone if people got tested regularly.

She said: "This is really important, with the easing of lockdown. If people are going to get together in groups of six or two households, they could consider getting a test before meeting up, so they can bring down that risk they might unintentionally pass the virus on to others."

Tests can be booked at www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/health-and-wellbeing/adults-health/coronavirus/testing/symptom-free-testing

Ms Steiner said: "At the moment, the testing sites have a booking system. We will probably be experimenting with not having booking, but at the moment, in Attleborough, for example, the booking system is in place."

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