CORONAVIRUS: Boston residents urged to join mass community testing programme

A mass testing system which is offering Covid-19 tests to the whole population of the district got underway in Boston today.

The testing site

Residents began taking part in the community testing programme on Monday at two venues in the town.

With one in three infected with the coronavirus not showing symptoms, the testing programme is intended to identify them and drive down the infection rate in the borough.

One of the first to take part in the scheme on Monday has urged as many people as are eligible to get themselves tested – and help get things back to normal.

A video from Boston Council goes through the testing process

Boston resident Alison Fairman was first on site at the Tollfield Campus Haven High on Tollfield Road for her test on Monday morning. The other venue is Peter Paine Performance Centre, Roseberry Avenue.

Alison said: “It is easy and well worth doing, it gives you piece of mind and knowing that you can nip to the supermarket for that essential shop and not be putting others in danger is so reassuring.

“I urge everyone who is eligible to go and get tested. Let’s get this town back to the way we all know and love it.”

Testing is available between 8am and 8pm with no booking necessary and the two sites will remain operational seven days a week until Sunday, February 14.

The test used provides an indication as to whether you have the virus in around one hour and those testing positive will be required to have a full Covid-19 test.

Health professionals will be on site to assist.

Michelle Howard, assistant director of Boston Borough Council, said: "We are offering tests to everybody across the whole of Boston borough over a four-week period.

"The aim really is to drive down transmission rates in the community.

"About one in three people have Covid-19 but don't have symptoms

"We have had high rates of transmission here and we want to do everything we can to reduce that being escalated in future."

She added: "If people test negative, that's not a free ticket to carry on behaving as they wish. It's really important that people who test negative still abide by the Government's guidelines."

Leader of the council Paul Skinner said: "It will be good to get an indication of what we have got out there, that's really important.

"We don't want our health service to be overwhelmed in any way at all."

The community testing programme is only for those who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 – those who have symptoms should continue booking a test in the usual way by calling 119 or visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Anyone who gives a positive rapid test should go to the Cattle Market for a confirmatory test and is urged not do any last minute shopping ahead of self-isolating.

Help and support, and in some cases £500 grants for people unable to work after a positive test, available by calling the helpline on 01522 782187.