Bradford Council has welcomed the Government’s announcement confirming that a Rapid Testing programme is to be rolled out in the Bradford district, to help protect those most at risk from COVID-19.

The council has been working to find suitable locations for new testing facilities which will be using the rapid, Lateral Flow Tests.

The roll out of this latest programme of testing for those with no symptoms of the virus is part of the UK-wide continued drive to increase the availability of testing and this is just the latest form of testing being done in the district.

This programme of testing aims to help protect those at highest risk by helping to identify people who have high levels of the virus but who do not have symptoms and would not otherwise be coming forward for a test. It will also provide vital information to help inform further roll out of the mass testing technology in future.

Around one in three people who have the virus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they’re not infectious and unwittingly spreading it to those that they come in to contact with. Those who test positive can stop the chain of transmission by self-isolating.

This new Lateral Flow Testing programme expands upon the existing daily asymptomatic door to door testing being carried out in targeted areas across the district.

For those with symptoms of COVID-19 there are mobile testing units across the district as well as testing centres at Centenary Square, Richard Dunn Sports Centre, Marley Stadium in Keighley, Victoria Hall in Keighley and at the University of Bradford. There is also a dedicated testing site for NHS staff and frontline workers at Marley Stadium in Keighley.

From the start of the pandemic, Bradford Council has been working around the clock with a range of partners to fight COVID-19 and support those affected by the pandemic.

This new programme of testing in combination with other vital infection prevention control measures such as washing hands regularly wearing face-coverings, and social distancing is another way people can play their part in fighting the spread of the virus.

Bradford Council Leader, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Rapid Testing is a tool we will use in fighting the infection, protecting those most at risk from COVID-19.

“We are working with our partners on identifying locations and staffing resources.

“Introducing these new testing technologies could improve the detection of positive cases, so that people can isolate themselves and prevent the spread of the virus.

“As a council and a district we are open to exploring all possible avenues for getting this virus under control. We are putting a great deal of effort into working closely with health colleagues and other partners to ensure the best use of resources as we integrate local testing, contact tracing and preparations for vaccination programmes.”

Bradford Council’s Director of Public Health, Sarah Muckle, said:

“The combined efforts of our council staff, partners, residents, businesses, local community organisations and volunteers have all contributed to bringing the infection rates across the district down over the passed few weeks, but rates and hospital admissions in our district are still high.

“Using lateral flow tests will enable us to identify infectious people who are asymptomatic, ensuring that they can isolate and prevent spreading the virus further.

“Lateral flow tests are rapid turnaround tests that can process COVID-19 samples on site with most generating results in around 30 minutes.

“People who test positive will be informed and given advice on self-isolation and how to access a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately lateral flow tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, which detect the genetic code of the virus, and they can give false results, meaning someone with COVID-19 may not be detected by the test. That’s why people should be tested regularly using lateral flow devices.

“Because of this lack of accuracy it is very important that people who have a negative test result do not assume they are completely clear of COVID-19, change their behaviour and abandon the good practice advice to minimise the risk of infection, particularly Hands, Face, Space. A negative test is not a green light for physical contact with friends and family.”

“These tests do not change the main testing programme and it is important that people with symptoms of COVID-19 book a test in the usual way.”