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Exeter will have county's first community test centre

County Hall will host first community test centre

For people who don't have symptoms

’Thirty-minute’ community testing for people who don't have covid symptoms will soon be available across Devon.

The government announcement last Sunday that it is expanding asymptomatic community testing across the country because about one in three people who have coronavirus do not display symptoms.

Devon's first testing site will open at County Hall in Exeter towards the end of January, with further sites to open across Devon through February and March.

Community testing will help to find those who have covid-19 but do not have symptoms and need to isolate and may inadvertently be spreading the virus. But even if you test negative, you will still have to stick to lockdown.

Organisations and employers are encouraged to register their details, with further information about eligibility on the Devon County Council website. Critical workers and those in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals, such as carers, will be prioritised. They're using rapid ‘lateral flow tests’, which provide a result within half an hour. Lateral flow tests continue to be offered in some settings such as universities and schools and with some large employers. The government abandoned plans for  schools to test pupils from this term when the current lockdown was announced on the first day of term.

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are setting up the community testing programme at a fast pace. Once in place, it will provide us with a useful tool for identifying people who are asymptomatic, who otherwise could be spreading the virus without their knowledge. This will help to break the chain of transmission and help slow the spread and protect other people.”

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said: “In the face of this pandemic, we want to do what we can to keep Devon working, and working safely. This will enable key workers, and for example, people who care for vulnerable people, to know that they are doing so as safely as possible.”

The service complements the existing testing regime, which means people with symptoms should book a free NHS test via or by calling 119.

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