Almost 800 COVID tests have been carried out at Sincil Bank stadium in Lincoln in the first three days, and 15 positives have been detected by the temporary centre — more than local health bosses expected so far.
Up to Thursday evening, 768 tests had been carried out on asymptomatic people and the positivity rate for the first three days was around 2%. Health bosses were expecting between 0.5-1% by the end of the initial two-week cycle.
Chiefs have also revealed they would like to keep a testing site in Lincoln open for longer than the initial period — if people continue to use it — and are in talks with government.
Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Professor Derek Ward said residents in general so far had been “really keen” to get tested.
“It’s a bit higher than I thought it would be, but that’s okay. The whole point of doing this was to try to get an understanding of what the asymptomatic prevalence rate is in that area of Lincoln,” he said.
He said the benchmark was based on evidence from other areas and the asymptomatic positivity rate in the NHS and social care workforces.
“If it’s more, then it would suggest that it was a good place to put the testing site.
“Even if it’s not, that’s okay because it’s all about us understanding [the situation] and every asymptomatic positive person we find is one less person who could be infecting others completely unbeknownst to themselves.”
Currently, people can just turn up at the testing centre on Sincil Bank, which opens 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday, up to January 25, in a bid to drive down the COVID-19 infection rates in the city.
After this date, the testing centre will move to St Swithin’s community centre on Croft Street, so those who live in the Monks Road area of the city can attend on a walk-in basis from January 25 to February 7 (also open daily 8am to 8pm).
Two further sites are due to open in Boston from Monday, January 18 at the Peter Paine Performance Centre on Rosebery Avenue and Tollfield Campus Haven High on Tollfield Road.
Professor Ward confirmed that his team was in conversation with the government about “keeping one or two sites” in both Lincoln and Boston, as well as potentially opening further laboratory testing elsewhere in the county.
He said physical on-location testing sites enabled health workers to check the quality of the test being carried out.
The rapid turnout tests are supplied by NHS Test and Trace and deliver results within an hour via text message and/or email. There is no need to book and you will be guided through the process from when you first arrive at the site.
It is for anyone aged 11 or over, but those under 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult.