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Mass rapid testing confirmed for Slough to curb coronavirus rise

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Mass rapid testing will be rolled out in Slough next month to enable people to find out if they have COVID-19 within 30 minutes of getting a test.

Slough Borough Council announced today it has reached an agreement with Government for the extra measures to tackle the spread of the virus.

Mobile and static rapid testing centres will be up and running in the town from mid-January for those without COVID-19 symptoms.

Anyone who tests positive from the rapid test will be required to have an immediate follow-up test using the current testing method to confirm the result.

Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We have been working very hard on bringing an appropriate and suitable mass testing offer to residents and we are very pleased our plans have received government approval today.

“There is still a lot of work to be done before we can open the doors of either the mobile or static rapid testing centres to residents but we will be working throughout the Christmas and New Year period so these are in place as soon as possible.

“As the mass testing will be available to all those without symptoms we hope to be able to help residents clearly take action if they test positive and avoid infecting others in the community.”

Details on how to get a rapid test, where and when will be released in the new year.

Anyone with symptoms can continue to get tests at the Montem Testing Centre as usual.

Slough Borough Council has also confirmed the recruitment of eight more COVID-19 officers, doubling its current cohort, until March 2021.

Their duties will include visiting businesses where complaints have been made about COVID-19 compliance and targeting hotspot areas where people are flouting the rules.

Cllr Pantelic added: “It is clearly an incredibly challenging time and everyone needs all the support possible to make sure we live within the current tier 4 arrangements and people understand what is and isn’t permitted.

 “So we can support the people of Slough we are looking to introduce two measures early in the New Year, additional COVID-19 officers and mass rapid testing across the town.

 “Our COVID-19 officers are the front line of the council’s ability to help enforce the regulations and, like the current officers, these new COVID-19 officers will be working closely with our CCTV room, environment health and police to target hotspot areas and follow up concerns from residents.”

 The council’s COVID-19 officers will not have the powers to break-up gatherings in the street or in people’s homes with this responsibility falling on Thames Valley Police.

Slough, which is currently under tier 4 of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions, has an infection rate of 514.2 cases per 100,000 people as of today.

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