South African variant surge testing for parts of Maidstone

 

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is doing all it can to help with local ’surge testing’ of residents for the new South African variant of Covd-19 (SARS CoV2) within the ME15 postcode area of Maidstone which includes the wards of South, Loose, High Street and Shepway North.

MBC staff will be working with Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue and other support agencies as part of the large logistical exercise knocking ‘door to door’ and asking residents to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid test. All members of the household aged 16 and over are strongly encouraged to carry out a PCR test whether they have symptoms or not.

The testing is being led by the Kent Resilience Forum and will begin tomorrow, Tuesday 2 February. The testing kit will be dropped off, residents will self-administer it, the kit will then be picked up within a short time after the initial visit by the same team.

Cllr Martin Cox Liberal Democrat Leader of Maidstone Borough Council said: “We all need to play our part in helping in this surge-testing, and I am encouraging everyone to help and support this huge exercise.  I cannot stress how important it is for everyone to keep following the Hands, Face Space government advice.”        

A mobile testing unit will also be based in the car park outside the YMCA at Melrose Close, Shepway to assist people who are unable to be tested at home and used as a drop off point for these tests.  

The test site will work in such a way as to ensure that people arriving for a test are kept separate from nearby buildings and in a manner to minimise disruption for everyone.

This new South African (SARS CoV2) variant has been identified as a result of a positive test of an individual who lives and works in our borough and where no connection to travel to South Africa could be established, consequently raising the prospect of community transmission.

Residents should take this test whether they have symptoms or not. If residents have either just had a test - or are booked in for a test soon – it is important that they still take this test as additional sequencing for test positives will be undertaken.

People across the borough should continue to follow the national restrictions and government guidance that is currently in place.

The extra ‘surge testing’ carried out in ME15 postcode areas will be sent to laboratories for sequencing to identify whether the positive test results also test positive for the specific variant strain known as the South African variant.

A total of 105 cases of SARS-CoV-2 variant (also known as VOC-202012/02) have been identified to date across the UK.

 

More information can be found on the Kent County Council website:  www.kent.gov.uk