Asymptomatic testing expansion begins with new centre in Fife

The site at the Maxwell Centre in Cowdenbeath will allow people who do not have coronavirus symptoms to be tested.

Asymptomatic testing expansion begins with new centre in Fife PA Ready

The first of a new wave of asymptomatic community testing sites will open in Fife on Wednesday, deputy first minister John Swinney has said.

The site at the Maxwell Centre in Cowdenbeath will allow people who do not have coronavirus symptoms to be tested, with no advance booking needed.

Around one in three people with Covid-19 does not show symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others.

The Scottish Government launched trial asymptomatic testing schemes in several areas towards the end of 2020, but earlier this week Nicola Sturgeon said discussions were taking place for a wider rollout involving most of Scotland’s councils.

Rapid community testing was announced for all English local authorities in January.

At the coronavirus briefing on Friday, Swinney said the Cowdenbeath testing site would be followed by a further four across Fife in the following weeks.

Lateral flow tests will be used at the centres, but any positive cases will be confirmed using the more sensitive PCR tests.

Swinney said: “The targeted expansion of testing in these communities will help more people find out if they have Covid, even if they don’t have symptoms.

“It will help them to know if they or their contacts need to self-isolate and will therefore play an important part in helping us to stop the spread of the virus.”

Eight sites have been approved so far, he said, with a further 11 expected to follow later on Friday.

NHS Fife said the Maxwell Centre site will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday for people living in Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and Lumphinnans.

Results are normally delivered within a few hours by text or email.

A post on the health board’s website said: “By getting tested at one of our community testing sites, you can find out if you have the virus and if you are positive take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus to others by self-isolating.

“You’ll also have access to the kind of confidential support you might need if you have to self-isolate, including advice and information on accessing different financial support alongside practical measures such as food packages.”

Data from the existing asymptomatic community testing sites is expected to be published on Wednesday next week.

Public health minister Mairi Gougeon said: “Increased testing in this way will help us find and isolate more cases by targeting resources with communities where there is high prevalence, helping us to identify more cases of the virus and giving us all a better chance of stopping it from spreading.

“However, a test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested.

“It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place to protect all of us.”

Those who do have coronavirus symptoms, or are self-isolating as a result of being a close contact of a positive case, should still book a PCR test in the normal way.