Covid home testing kits will be available for collection in Richmond tomorrow.
North Yorkshire is leading a national pilot for an initiative to make the kits available in rural areas.
The county has worked with the Department for Health and Social Care to use a mobile deployment unit, which will move from town to town on a daily basis to distribute lateral flow testing kits to those who qualify for home testing.
The pilot project will complement North Yorkshire’s five static sites at Northallerton, Selby, Scarborough, Skipton and Harrogate.
Two boxes of seven test kits will be available to those who turn up to collect them.
Those who currently qualify for test kits are the households and bubbles of pupils, students and staff at schools, nurseries and colleges.
The service is not intended for people with symptoms of coronavirus, but by allowing the families of young people in school and education settings to test regularly it is hoped it will help to limit the virus from spreading and support the county’s recovery.
Dr Victoria Turner, public health consultant at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Around a third of people with Covid do not have any symptoms, so the aim of regular asymptomatic testing is to help to uncover hidden cases of the virus and stop further transmissions, preventing outbreaks before they occur.
“Asymptomatic testing is an additional measure we can put in place alongside the key actions of social distancing, wearing face coverings and keeping indoor spaces well ventilated to prevent further spread of infection.”
Matthew Robinson, North Yorkshire’s Head of Resilience and Emergencies, said the county’s extremely rural nature required an innovative approach to ensure everyone had the best possible access to testing.
“In North Yorkshire, we have led the way on many occasions, working with the Government to solve our own testing problems throughout this pandemic,” he said. “This is another example of us supporting people and more rural communities to have easier access to home testing kits. It is particularly helpful for anyone who may have transport difficulties.
“We asked if we could pilot this scheme and we are really delighted to have been given a mobile deployment unit. Wherever that unit is, eligible people can go and get lateral flow tests.”
Each person can take two boxes of test kits, with seven in each and the unit is stocked with 1,000 boxes for each daily run.
“Our hope is that by having this, we can better support those most rural communities across the county,” he said. “It is great for North Yorkshire and an example of the county setting the pace when it comes to finding solutions that help people living in rural areas.”
For more information, including dates when the kits can be collected, click here.