Norfolk health bosses issue Covid testing plea as infection rates creep up

Sam Carpenter watches as Stuart Bedford carries out the lateral flow test on the new Covid-19 mobile

People in Norfolk are being urged to take twice-weekly Covid tests - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Everyone in Norfolk is being urged to get tested twice a week for coronavirus - as case numbers continue to creep up.

The county's rate has climbed to 27.6 per 100,000 people, up by 13.3 over the past month. 

The figure does, however, remain far lower than the average for England, which stands at 149 per 100,000.

Across the country, only the Isle of Wight has a lower rate.

But, in a bid to control the spread of the virus, health officials are reminding the public of the testing options available to them.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health, said: "Even with the vaccination programme going well, we all have to remember to get tested - it’s just as important as ever.

Louise Smith, Director of Public Health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health - Credit: Archant

"While the vaccines do an excellent job of mitigating Covid symptoms and avoid hospitalisation, even those who are fully vaccinated can still catch, and worse, transmit the virus.

"To protect our loved ones and our communities, we need to continue to get tested.

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"Getting tested regularly goes hand in hand with Hands, Face, Space as the best way to slow the spread of Covid and keep case numbers down."

Taking two symptom-free tests every week is being encouraged among all residents, including those who have received jabs. 

The team of testing operatives on the new Covid-19 mobile testing bus for observed lateral flow test

A Covid testing team on one of Norfolk's mobile units - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Around one in three people with coronavirus are asymptomatic and can therefore spread the disease without realising. 

This type of testing is done via lateral flow devices, which do not need to be sent to a laboratory and produce a positive or negative result in around 30 minutes.

The process can be observed by trained professionals at Norfolk's range of community venues, or at a mobile unit run by the county council.

They can also be ordered online or picked up free of charge from any pharmacy or library to be completed at home. 

A lockdown exit roadmap is to be published in the week commencing February 22.

People in Norfolk are being urged to take twice-weekly Covid tests - Credit: PA

To book a test, visit the Norfolk County Council website

Anyone showing symptoms of the virus - including a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a change of sense of smell or taste - can book a PCR test online by visiting gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

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