NHS Highland will be holding rapid Covid testing for people without symptoms in three north communities to reduce the risk of transmission.
Mobile testing units have been deployed in Inverness, Tain and Dornoch to halt the spread of the virus as positive cases in the region rise.
The testing programme will be available in Inverness from Monday June 28 until Friday July 2, while such will be carried out in Dornoch on Wednesday June 30 and Thursday July 1.
Drop-in session will be held at the Tesco car park in Inverness Business and Retail Park and at the Dornoch Academy car park from 9.30am-4.30pm.
Tain residents without symptoms will be able to get a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) at the drop-in session at the Tain Royal Academy car park on Tuesday June 29.
Reducing the risk of transmission by detecting cases early
The community testing programme has been deployed in effort to slow down the spread of the virus by detecting any possible asymptomatic carriers.
However, NHS Highland has stressed that the reason to chose these specific locations is not due to any particular outbreaks in the areas.
Tain and Dornoch have not previously been visited by a Mobile Covid Clinic for testing, and Inverness has been selected in order to provide access to the highest number of people.
Highland Council convener Bill Lobban said: “In Highland we now have three mobile testing units available to travel to identified locations with a team of trained staff to deliver testing for people without symptoms.
“Our mobile units can be deployed wherever needed. If mobile units come to your area we encourage you to make use of the testing facilities as this will enable quick detection of any localised cases of Covid-19.
“It also offers reassurance for anyone concerned about potentially being an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.”
More tests help stop Covid from spreading
The mobile testing units will also be operating an LFD Collect service offering free packs of seven testing kits to be taken away and used at home.
The testing process takes ten minutes, and results are usually sent within an hour, though may occasionally take up to 24 hours.
People who have had their Covid jabs have also been encouraged to get tested as, while vaccines reduce the risk of infection, they can still contract the virus.
Dr Tim Allison, director of public health with NHS Highland, added: “Many people who have coronavirus have no symptoms, and will be spreading it without realising.
“By expanding community testing we will be able to identify more cases giving us a better chance of stopping Covid-19 from spreading.
“Testing for those without symptoms will help us to identify those who are positive but do not have symptoms.
“We can then advise them to self-isolate and therefore prevent spread. Anyone that tests positive with an LFD needs to get a confirmatory PCR test.
“More testing helps to show us how the virus is spread and will help us reduce risk.”
Whilst the unit is being deployed, anyone who has Covid symptoms, or has been identified as a close contact of Covid, is advised to access PCR testing and not use an LFD test.
People who are currently self-isolating because they have been identified as a close contact, or have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days, are asked not to attend asymptomatic testing sites.