December 23, 2020 10.23 am This story is over 41 months old

Lincoln and Boston to join mass COVID testing scheme

The areas with highest rates in Lincolnshire

Lincoln and Boston are among 17 new areas across Lincolnshire to offer COVID-19 community testing.

The districts, which have had some of the highest UK infection rates over the past few weeks and been partially responsible for the county’s tier 3 restrictions, will be offered rapid lateral flow tests to detect asymptomatic cases.

It comes as government bosses meet on Wednesday to discuss if stricter measures should be taken in some of the worst-affected areas of the country — with Lincolnshire tipped to be pushed into tier 4 too, similar to the November lockdown.

The aim of the mass community testing is to slow down the spread of the virus by detecting it early, as well as seek out the new mutation, up to 70% more virulent, which has been spreading in the South and South East of England.

There are already 106 areas signed up to roll-out mass testing in either December or January.

Government and health bosses have urged people to take a test when offered.

The walk-through testing centre on Beevor Street in Lincoln. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Working together we will help areas where levels of the virus are highest to reduce their infection rates and break the chains of transmission.

“Roughly one in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms and so it’s essential we broaden testing to help identify those who are infected and infectious, unaware they may be spreading the disease.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to join a meeting of ministers on Wednesday morning to discuss whether some areas should be placed under stricter measures.

Cabinet Minister Robert Jenrick said all areas would be looked at.

Greater Lincolnshire’s infection rate from Dec 14 to Dec 21. | Data: GOV UK / Table: The Lincolnite

Lincoln’s latest infection rate was 412.9 per 100,000, where it has stayed since Monday, while Boston’s was 407.6, down from 440.3.

Lincolnshire as a whole currently sits at 257.3, while nationally the England rate is 304.2.

There are three testing centres in Lincoln (Showground drive-through, university/Boole and Sincil Bank walk-throughs) and one in Boston (Cattle Market car park).

On Tuesday, health bosses confirmed they had plans for 15 new vaccination centres across the county.

It was also confirmed an emergency mortuary built in Woodhall Spa had been opened to tackle a rise in deaths.

The Boston walk-in test centre in the Cattle Market is open now. | Photo: Paul Beard