Derbyshire not included in latest mass testing rollout

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 3:35pm

By Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporter @EddieBisk

Derbyshire, as well as Derby, are not taking part in the next batch of Liverpool-style mass-testing rollouts across England.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, wrote to all public health directors on Monday (November 9) offering them rapid lateral flow tests.

This mass Covid-19 testing will now be rolled out across a further 66 council areas, including Nottinghamshire, he said.

However, Derbyshire County Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it is not included in this batch of 66.

Meanwhile, Derby City Council said: “We are waiting with interest to see the impact of the pilot mass testing in Liverpool and will consider whether this is the right thing for Derby once more is known.”

The mass-testing scheme asks everyone, whether they have symptoms of Covid or not, to get a test.

It aims to find as many people as possible who may have the virus, many of whom will not display symptoms, and if they test positive, to self-isolate and stall the spread of the virus in the community.

It also builds a more accurate picture of how many infections there are in a particular area.

Lateral flow tests, which have a turnaround time for results of under an hour, have been available since Friday (November 6) for people who live and work in Liverpool and do not have symptoms.

Liverpool’s programme aims to test up to 50,000 people a day once fully operational.

The city’s mayor, Joe Anderson, on Monday said 23,170 people have been tested for coronavirus in the city since midday on Friday, with 0.7 per cent testing positive.

Today, Mr Hancock said: “I can confirm that we are rolling out the sort of mass testing we are seeing in Liverpool, and indeed we earlier piloted in Stoke-on-Trent, across 66 local authorities.

“Last night I wrote to the directors of public health of all local authorities in England saying we can make available these brilliant new lateral flow tests that give results in 15 minutes, and we can make them available to directors of public health right across the country.

“Sixty-six expressed an interest in the first instance, I’m now expecting a whole load more.”

Derby currently has a rate of new Covid-19 cases of 438 per 100,000 people in the week to November 5 – higher than in Liverpool (273), Birmingham (325), Nottingham (354), Sheffield (382) and Leicester (406).

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