News

Community testing highlights hidden cases

Published: 04 Mar 2021 09:30

More than 10,000 tests for people without symptoms.

More than 10,000 tests have been carried out on people without coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms since 18 January, according to the latest Public Health Scotland figures.

Of those, 251 (2.4%) tests were positive for the virus, despite people showing no symptoms, and they were asked to self-isolate to avoid unknowingly passing on the virus to those around them. 

As of Thursday 4 March, there are 24 asymptomatic test sites providing COVID-19 testing for people without symptoms in targeted areas. A further 24 sites across Scotland are set to open over the next month.

Nine Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) are also currently deployed to provide community testing for local residents, whether they have symptoms or not.

Over 5,600 tests have been carried out for people reporting COVID-19 symptoms at these MTUs since 18 January, 847 (15%) of which tested positive.

The Scottish Government has committed £5 million in additional funding to support community testing programmes across the country, and 320 military personnel have been deployed to support initial set up, training and delivery.

Proposals for targeted community testing have so far been agreed with the Ayrshire & Arran, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Grampian, Lanarkshire and Forth Valley health boards, and the 20 Local Authority areas they cover.

Discussions are underway with the remaining health board areas and their local authorities with the aim of agreeing those proposals in the coming weeks.

In order to better target community testing, waste water sampling undertaken by SEPA and Scottish Water to track COVID prevalence has also been expanded to around 160 tests per week, supported by £1.1 million in additional funding.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“These results show the impact that targeted community testing can have – identifying 251 asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that might otherwise have gone undetected, helping to break chains of transmission within those communities.

“This is especially important given new COVID strains are more infectious, and not everyone who has coronavirus will have symptoms, so people could be spreading the disease to those around them without knowing it.

“Dedicated support is available for anyone who needs to self-isolate. So, whether you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or not, I would encourage everyone in these areas where community testing is available to come forward and get tested.

“Alongside our vaccination programme and the FACTS guidance, early identification of new cases through testing gives us the best chance of protecting the progress we’ve made so far to suppress COVID-19 in Scotland, so that restrictions can continue to be eased, and we can all move back to some greater normality in our lives.”

Background

PHS COVID-19 Statistical Report

How to self-isolate effectively – Information and support for people who are asked to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

Local authorities and NHS Boards were asked to submit proposals for targeted community testing in January, which would be supported with additional funding and resources, including mobile testing units and asymptomatic test sites

The first asymptomatic site opened in Cowdenbeath, Fife on Thursday 11 February following trials in Johnstone and four other local authorities last year. Since 18 January, MTUs have also been deployed to provide community testing for people with and without symptoms in targeted communities.

Asymptomatic Test Sites – 4 March 2021

Location

NHS board

Local authority

Deployment date

Website

Prestwick

A&A

South Ayrshire

22-Feb

nhsaaa.net/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/

Irvine

A&A

North Ayrshire

24-Feb

Hurlford

A&A

East Ayrshire

26-Feb

Annan

D&G

Dumfries and Galloway

25-Feb

www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/

Dumfries

D&G

Dumfries and Galloway

25-Feb

Castle Douglas

D&G

Dumfries and Galloway

25-Feb

Stranraer

D&G

Dumfries and Galloway

25-Feb

Barrhead

GGC

East Renfrewshire

01-Mar

eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/article/3476/Asymptomatic-Covid-19-test-facility-to-open-in-Barrhead

Cowdenbeath

Fife

Fife

12-Feb

nhsfife.org/communitytesting/

Kirkcaldy (Glebe)

Fife

Fife

22-Feb

Kirkcaldy (Chapel)

Fife

Fife

26-Feb

Govanhill

GGC

Glasgow City

01-Mar

glasgow.gov.uk/Test4Glasgow

Glasgow Central Mosque

GGC

Glasgow City

01-Mar

Gourock

GGC

Inverclyde

02-Mar

inverclyde.gov.uk/asymptomatic-test

Clydebank

GGC

West Dunbartonshire

25-Feb

west-dunbarton.gov.uk/council/newsroom/news/2021/feb/asymptomatic-test-facilities-to-open-in-clydebank-and-dumbarton/

Dumbarton

GGC

West Dunbartonshire

25-Feb

Auchinairn

GGC

East Dunbartonshire

04-Mar

 eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/covid-19/covid-19-community-test-centre

Aberdeen University

(key workers and students only)

Grampian

Aberdeen City

22-Feb

nhsgrampian.org/covid-19/covid-19-public-information/subpages/covid-19-community-testing/

Keith

Grampian

Moray

22-Feb

Peterhead

Grampian

Aberdeenshire

26-Feb

Forres

Grampian

Moray

01-Mar

Larkhall

Lanarkshire

South Lanarkshire

27-Feb

nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/community-testing-begins-in-south-lanarkshire/

Airdrie

Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire

02-Mar

northlanarkshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/latest-health-information/community-testing

Polmont

Forth Valley

Falkirk

03-Mar

nhsforthvalley.com/new-covid-19-test-centre-to-open-in-polmont-for-people-without-symptoms/