New plea to 'get into habit' of twice weekly Covid tests

Children at Woodside Junior School in Hethersett help get the message out. Photo: Archant

Diane Steiner, Norfolk's deputy public health director. - Credit: Archant

A fresh appeal has been made for people in Norfolk to get tested for Covid-19 twice a week, with public health bosses saying it is key to keeping the lid on coronavirus.

More than 150,000 free rapid tests have been carried out via community testing and business testing in Norfolk - but public health chiefs want to see more people getting tested for coronavirus twice weekly.

While refusing to say whether she was disappointed in the take-up of twice-weekly tests so far,  Diane Steiner, deputy public health director for Norfolk, said it would be beneficial if everyone in the county got into the habit of getting tested.

Everyone is to be given access to a free and rapid coronavirus test twice a week from April 9.

Norfolk public health bosses want people to get into the habit of twice weekly tests. - Credit: PA

She said: "We have a number of tools in our tool box to keep ourselves and our family, friends and colleagues safe and getting regular testing is one of those tools.

"It's really important, because one in three  people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms.

"By doing the testing regularly, we can find cases in the community which we would otherwise not find.

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"I'd encourage everybody to get into the habit of being tested twice a week.

"Regular testing will be key to keeping cases in Norfolk as low as possible."

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Mrs Steiner said more than 150,000 tests had been carried out via workplace testing at about 250 Norfolk businesses and at community testing sites.

Testing kits can also be collected from pharmacies and libraries, ordered online via the county council's website or obtained by calling 119.

But, amid concerns over the accuracy of the lateral flow tests, Mrs Steiner stressed a negative result should not be used as a "green light" to abandon other measures such as wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing.

She said: "It's important that people register their results. And if somebody tests positive, then they should self-isolate and book a PCR test (via to confirm the result.

"And they should not be used for people who have symptoms - they should book a PCR test."

The government says for every 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out, there was less than one false positive result.

But a University of East Anglia study into mass testing in Liverpool, found they failed to detect 60pc of all positive cases.

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