Council Leader Keith Aspden has written to the Health Secretary urging him to lay out the details of the future approach to local asymptomatic testing, and guarantee that local Public Health teams will receive the funding necessary to carry out this crucial service.
Currently, asymptomatic testing is being conducted across four community testing sites across the city using Lateral Flow Devices. Between 14th January 2021 and 11th April 2021, 45,000 tests have been completed at these sites and identified 428 positive cases which have gone on to self-isolate, thus breaking chains of transmission. On average 4,500 tests a week are completed.
The current funding arrangements in place only guarantee funding for local testing until the 30th of June 2021. Lack of clarity regarding longer-term arrangements is causing considerable concern for city partners, and the Public Health Team, who are unable to carry out long term planning. Such planning is particularly crucial as national lockdown measures are eased and more residents and visitors venture back to explore the city.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council, commented:
“Community testing a city-wide effort and working together with partners, including our universities, retail and leisure services the local Public Health team have been able to ensure that testing can be easily accessible to residents across York.
“Having a well-functioning testing strategy is crucial to our efforts in stopping the spread of the virus. Public Health teams need clarity and funding to ensure the city has a comprehensive long term plan that will ensure that residents and visitors are protected as we continue to battle the virus.”