Fife health bosses are to step up the fight against the spread of asymptomatic Covid-19, particularly in less affluent areas, with the creation of more testing centres across the region.
Currently Fife has three Covid-19 testing stations operating in with a fixed site in St Andrews and mobile units in both Glenrothes and Dunfermline.
But now plans have been revealed to replace the mobile facilities with new fixed centres greatly increasing testing capacity at Glenrothes’ Miners Charitable Society and Dunfermline’s Dell Farquharson Leisure Centre.
Plans are also progressing for an additional facility to be sited at Glebe Park Centre in Kirkcaldy.
Fife is one of only two health boards in Scotland, alongside Grampian, piloting this type of targeted testing scheme.
Despite the vaccination programme roll out having already vaccinated more than 25,000 of Fife’s most vulnerable citizens, including the over 80s and frontline health and care home workers, Dona Milne, NHS Fife Director of Public Health, says testing remains a “key part” of the region’s public protection strategy.
“We are trying to increase our testing capacity and a key part of that is improving availability in our communities,” said Ms Milne.
“Whilst the vaccination programme is being rolled out and will provide some degree of protection we don’t yet know how much protection the vaccine will give us in terms of transmission.
“Therefore we still need to follow all the other public health advice and testing is still a key part of our strategy along with contact tracing.
“We want to make it as easy and efficient as possible for people to get tested and have been working hard for a number of weeks in partnership with Fife Council and military personnel to get the testing centres set up.”
Ms Milne confirmed that the asymptomatic testing programme will be ready as early as this week, targeting areas experiencing low uptake of existing testing and those areas showing high levels of vulnerability in its population.
Testing will involve the use of a ‘lateral flow’ test which detects Covid-19 within 15 minutes of a test being conducted.
Those testing positive will be offered support as well as provided with food deliveries and medicine collection services in order to help those required to isolate.