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Everyone in South Yorkshire to get rapid one hour Covid tests

Written by on 18/11/2020

The whole of South Yorkshire is to take part in the government’s pilot scheme for rapid coronavirus testing, it has been announced, following confirmation Doncaster would be involved.

That means the targeted rapid testing – giving results within 60 minutes – will also be introduced in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley.

The authorities will use their knowledge of high-risk groups to target testing where think it will be most effective at identifying otherwise hidden cases.

Julia Burrows, Barnsley’s Director of Public Health, said: “I’m acutely aware that there is a need to break the chain of transmission of the Covid-19 virus in our communities.

Julia Burrows

“It’s important to all four South Yorkshire areas that we look at this as a whole region, so our plans and discussions with the government have reflected this.

“The pilot will look at targeted rapid testing using lateral flow kits.

“This rapid form of testing is different from the usual swab kits used in testing centres and provides an inbuilt test result within an hour without the need for lab processing.

“The challenge we face is that some people who have Covid-19 don’t show any symptoms. This means that they’re spreading the virus to other, potentially vulnerable, people.

“Rapid testing using the lateral flow tests means we can test high-risk groups in our region, helping us to identify cases and getting people to self-isolate quickly to break the chain of infection,” she said.

South Yorkshire has been affected by high levels of the virus since the second wave emerged and the area was put on Tier 3 restrictions, the most stringent then available, before the national lockdown was introduced.