More than 23,000 Medway residents and critical workers have taken a symptom-free coronavirus test.
On 5 December Medway Council opened three targeted community testing centres for people without symptoms in Chatham, Chattenden and Rainham, as part of its fight against COVID-19. On 9 December, the council opened a fourth testing site at Rochester Cathedral and, with support from the military, outreach testing sites have visited 12 secondary schools and a college as well as retail areas across Medway.
The Gills have also supported Medway’s fight against coronavirus with Mems Priestfield Stadium becoming a pop-up symptom-free testing site.
This new type of testing helps identify those who unknowingly have the virus. The symptom-free tests will help provide a more accurate picture of cases in Medway and will help prevent people from spreading it to their loved ones and people they work with.
Since symptom-free testing began, 23,776 eligible people have taken the quick swab test in Medway and received their results within an hour. Of those tested 446 people were found to have coronavirus and were immediately told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace programme.
On Saturday, 19 December, the Prime Minister announced that Medway would enter the new Tier 4: Stay at Home alert level. This means residents in Tier 4 areas cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas period, unless they live with them, or they are part of their existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas.
Medway Council will continue to provide essential services for its residents, as well as support for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Protect your loved ones from coronavirus
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “Although we understand that residents will be disappointed that Medway is now in Tier 4 it is incredibly important that we all continue to follow the latest government advice to protect our loved ones from the spread of coronavirus. I am pleased that more than 23,000 of Medway’s eligible critical workers and residents have taken up the offer of a symptom-free swab test. Symptom-free testing is already helping to stop the spread of coronavirus and potentially saving lives. I would like to thank the military for their continued support and encourage eligible residents to book a test and join the fight against coronavirus.”
Helping stop the spread in Medway
James Williams, Director of Public Health at Medway Council, said: “Our latest results show just how vital symptom-free testing is, more than 400 critical workers and residents had the virus but weren’t displaying any symptoms. Thanks to our symptom-free testing these people will be isolating and helping to stop the spread in Medway. We are continuing to offer symptom-free testing to critical workers and residents in areas of Medway where coronavirus cases are increasing. Eligible residents will be contacted directly, and I would encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible. We must all act now in the fight against coronavirus.”
If you take a symptom-free test and the result shows positive, please arrange to take a PCR test through the NHS’s symptomatic booking process - call 119 or visit gov.uk.