Mass asymptomatic testing to start at Djanogly Leisure Centre next week, health bosses say

People who are not currently showing signs of Covid will be able to get a rapid test done as of next week at the Djanogly Leisure Centre site in Nottingham.

The scheme aims to find people who may not know they are carrying the illness, meaning they can self isolate and help reduce infection rates.

It comes as the number of people in Nottinghamshire in hospital with Covid reached double the rate it was during the first wave of the pandemic.

The first phase of the scheme will see a testing site up and running at Djanogly, before a second testing centre opens in the city centre or Trent Bridge area, according to officials behind the plan.

A mobile, roving service could then be introduced, depending on the results from the first two stages.

Public health expert Mandy Clarkson revealed the site today at a meeting of the Nottingham COubreak Control Board, saying: “As infection rates are rising asymptomatic community testing is becoming more important.

“It’s one of the things that we do have left in our armoury, in advance of the wide scale uptake of the vaccine.

“Nottingham City Council has now had approval for a mass asymptomatic programme, as has Nottinghamshire County Council, and I think it’s important to say we’re trying to coordinate our approach, people don’t necessarily live and work within their boundaries, so we’re trying to ensure a good network of asymptomatic testing being offered across the areas.

“So these programmes will primarily encourage testing in working age people, because they are the people who are likely to have to be going out and undertaking essential work if they can’t work from home.

“We’ve also focused it on areas that are showing lower testing rates combined with higher positivity, so perhaps where there are fewer people coming forward for testing, but when they do test they are more likely to be positive.

“In terms of our programme which is starting next week, our phase one will be an initial pilot site at Forest Fields and Hyson Green, we’ve chosen Djanogly Leisure Centre as the site because it lends itself very well to having the space and capacity and throughput of people that we need.

“Phase two we hope to open a second site around the Trent Bridge and city centre area, and we’ll also be looking closely at St Ann’s.

“Then for phase three we will be looking at other options in the city, depending on patterns of uptake and positivity, and may even consider a mobile option where we can rotate according to need.”

She went on to say they will be advertising that the site is open by doing leaflet drops through doors in target areas, as well as banners on lamp posts, and working with faith groups to spread the message.