A Covid-19 community testing scheme underway in Aviemore has been extended as cases across the country rose to more than 990.
Asymptomatic community testing has been underway in Badenoch and Strathspey this week after a cluster of cases were identified in the village.
A mobile testing unit was established at Aviemore retail park on Wednesday, in partnership with NHS Highland, offering tests to residents presenting no covid symptoms.
It is thought one in three coronavirus patients do not show any signs of infection.
Council officials have now announced they are extending the programme for another week to help identify more cases in the community.
The extension comes just hours after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a surge in Covid cases across the country, with 992 new cases reported in the latest 24 hour period.
Reducing the risks of Covid-19
Dr Tim Allison, director of Public Health with NHS Highland, said the move was brought forward to help minimise the spread of the virus.
He said: “Many people who have coronavirus (COVID-19) 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, asymptomatic testing, 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.”
When can people access a test?
The drop-in testing scheme will recommence at the mobile testing unit on Saturday from 10.30am until 4pm.
From Monday, the unit will be open to patients between 9.30am and 5pm each day before coming to a close at 5pm next Friday.
No appointment is necessary to receive a test. When you arrive at the mobile testing unit, you will first be asked to wait outside, before being registered and entering. You will then be escorted to a testing booth.
Individuals will be given a test using the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) generating results within a matter of minutes.
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Results will be administered to attendees by text or by email, with results expected anytime between 40 minutes and 24 hours after the test was taken.
LFD tests for people without COVID-19 symptoms can also sent to your home, in packs of 7, by visiting the UK Government’s coronavirus support page (external link).
Community testing across the Highlands
Over the last two months, rapid Covid-19 testing has been rolled-out in various communities across the north in an effort to minimise the spread of the virus.
In April, a mobile testing unit was established at Merkinch Community Centre following a cluster of cases at Merkinch Primary School.
Four classes at the Carse Road school were instructed to self isolate, just days before the start of the Easter holidays, after a staff member tested positive.
Health officials also identified wider family clusters in the local area.
Following on from its success, an eight-day scheme was later roll-out across Inverness, offering asymptomatic testing at a mobile unit at the Highland Council’s Headquarters.
Similar schemes have also been established in Moray and Grantown in an effort to identify unknown cases of Covid-19.