One in 20 people without symptoms test positive for Covid in Wolverhampton pilot scheme

More than 100 people in Wolverhampton tested positive for coronavirus having not experienced any symptoms.

The city's rapid testing pilot scheme has been extended, council bosses have announced
The city's rapid testing pilot scheme has been extended, council bosses have announced

Wolverhampton Council said 2,433 people have taken part in the city's rapid testing pilot, with around five per cent – 122 people – testing positive.

The positivity rate in Liverpool, where nearly 120,000 asymptomatic people were tested in a mass testing scheme, was 0.9 per cent.

Wolverhampton's community-led scheme, which has run from the Sedgley Street Gurdwara in Blakenhall, was due to end last Monday but has now been extended into next week.

The pilot uses lateral flow tests to check whether people without Covid symptoms have the virus or not. It provides results in around half an hour.

Up to now an average of 203 people have been tested each day.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for health, said: "This pilot is all about how we can use the latest testing technology to break the chain of transmission, and in turn reduce the spread of coronavirus.

"Asymptomatic testing enables us to find cases of Covid-19 among people who haven't shown symptoms of the virus, but might still have it. This means they could be spreading Covid-19 to other people without realising it.

"Hundreds of people have taken part in the pilot, and in the first week alone we were able to identify a number of positive cases which means we have been able to prevent Covid-19 spreading to other people, which is clearly a brilliant result.

Lessons

"As well as helping us to reduce the prevalence of the virus, the lessons learned from this pilot will also inform the roll out of rapid testing technology in the coming days and, ultimately, help us all get back to normal more quickly."

Mrs Jaspal added that the pilot had helped to increase testing among the BAME community, with more than half of those tested so far coming from minority backgrounds.

People aged 18 and over without Covid symptoms can attend the pilot for a test between 10am and 6.30pm until December 8.

According to the latest NHS data, there were 248.71 cases of Covid per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days to November 28, after 654 new cases were recorded.

Council chiefs are hoping to launch a city-wide mass testing scheme this week.

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