May 14, 2021 10.35 am This story is over 14 months old

Lincolnshire COVID rapid testing sites to be wound down as usage decreases

They’re only operating at 5-10% capacity

Lateral flow testing sites for COVID-19 across Lincolnshire will begin winding down as local health bosses urge people to go to their local pharmacists or order online instead.

Lincolnshire County Council’s director for public health Professor Derek Ward confirmed that it was likely one of the Boston sites would stop being available over the weekend.

He said rapid lateral flow testing was working really well across the country, but there had been a shift in government stance on the need for “fixed” lateral flow sites.

“At the moment, we’re only using between 5-10% of our capacity,” he said, adding that nine out of 10 sites could be taken out and still have “more than enough.”

He said that since the sites were set up before Christmas there had been more than enough capacity to start with.

However, he explained that in recent weeks activity had “dropped massively”.

“I’ve got no concerns about it, it’s a good news story to be honest, people don’t need them because they can go down other routes.

“There’s a cost involved with keeping the site, so we want to make sure that we’re spending the money wisely, so we’ll reduce the offer.”

Since the sites began to carry out LFTs, there have been about 38,000 tests carried out, with just under 400 positive asymptomatic COVID-19 cases found, but more than 37,000 negative tests.

Elsewhere, in schools for instance, more than 650,000 lateral flow tests have been carried out by pupils, parents and teachers, since the beginning of the year, with around 1,000 positive cases found.

Professor Ward said he was confident that people were able to carry out the tests themselves, with a current void rate of just 0.4%.

He added that younger people, including those up to university age, had “done a remarkable job of sticking by the rules and protecting older people”.

He said one or two testing sites would still be kept, including potentially a mobile site, which he hoped might be used for Lincoln City’s play-off matches next Wednesday and Saturday.

However, he continued to urge the more than 3,000 fans with tickets to take a test within 24 hours before attending the match against Sunderland.