Hammersmith and Fulham Council today rolled out an extensive new targeted testing programme in a bid to lower the borough’s high coronavirus levels.
An ambitious roll-out has been gathering pace over the last few weeks, and will initially focus on asymptomatic frontline workers working in nursing homes, care settings and in GP practices, who will be contacted directly to arrange the tests.
In addition, in the run-up to Christmas, the council will also be testing visitors to care homes to ensure families can reunite over the festive period.
Councillor Stephen Cowan said: “With the continued high infection rates, we will do everything possible to protect people by stepping up the fight against Covid-19 with local targeted testing allied with robust track and tracing.
“I want to thank all the partners who are helping us deliver this service and appeal to everyone in the borough to continue to stick to the advice to stay at home to save lives during this lockdown.
“We can limit the dreadful effects of this pandemic if we all pull together.”
Using the lateral flow swab test, results will be available within 30 minutes, for up to 20,000 asymptomatic people per week.
Those who test positive will be advised immediately to isolate and their contacts traced.
Government statistics show Hammersmith and Fulham’s coronavirus rate to be an above average rate in comparison with the rest of England,with 3,317 people from the borough receiving a positive coronavirus test result yesterday.
In the last week, there was an overall 60% rise in positive coronavirus cases in Fulham Broadway alone.
A council spokesperson said: “We are working towards 20,000 tests a week.
“Testing such a large proportion of the population means more positive cases can be identified and those infected asked to self-isolate, which can help drive down the spread of the pandemic locally.”
Following the initial roll out, the programme will be extended to school staff, children’s social workers, people in sheltered homes, those with certain medical conditions and key workers, including those handling domestic violence.
Residents and local workers with symptoms will also continue to be encouraged to acquire a test accessed by calling 119.
The programme is expected to run until March 2021, a year after the UK’s first lockdown began.
Low-income individuals who test positive will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment which you can apply for on the government’s website.
Further information can be found here.