The community testing initiative, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, is launching at Highwood Copse Primary School in Newbury, to help drive down transmission rates. Rapid turnaround tests, supplied by the NHS, will begin to help those people most at risk.
Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no 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.
With its targeted approach, community testing aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus in the highest risk areas.
West Berkshire Council will receive a batch of 24,000 lateral flow tests as part of a new pilot to enable local public health leaders to start testing critical and key workers.
Testing will be available for asymptomatic individuals, critical and key workers from Monday 8 February. Those eligible for appointments will be contacted directly and provided with a booking link.
All efforts to find people without symptoms work hand in hand with the existing free testing service for those with symptoms. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
West Berkshire Council is looking to set up four testing sites in total in the coming weeks to the East and West of the district to facilitate testing of as many key and critical workers as possible to protect those who live and work within West Berkshire.
There is one PCR test centre in the area which is open seven days a week:
Newbury Showground – Priors Court, Hermitage, Thatcham, RG18 9QZ. Testing must be booked in advance.