Mass Covid-19 testing to be rolled out in second community in Wales
Everyone living or working in Lower Cynon Valley will be offered a coronavirus test, becoming the second area in Wales to introduce mass testing, following Merthyr Tydfil.
All residents and workers without symptoms will be offered repeat coronavirus testing between Saturday 5th December and Sunday 20th December, to help find more positive cases and break the chains of transmission.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should book a test online or by calling 119 to attend an existing testing site for a PCR self-swab test.
Testing will be delivered in partnership between the Welsh Government, UK Government, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board and the Ministry of Defence, with logistical support from the Armed Forces.
The areas in lower Cynon Valley covered in the mass testing pilot are
- Mountain Ash East
- Mountain Ash West
- Aberaman South
The two main test centre locations are: Cynon Valley Indoor Bowls Centre, Mountain Ash and Abercynon Sports Centre. Further sites will be announced in the coming days.
These areas have seen some of the highest coronavirus cases per 100,000 in recent weeks and identifying residents who may have the virus, but have no symptoms could be key to helping stop its spread.
The mass testing programme will use Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs). Everyone who attends any of the asymptomatic test sites in Lower Cynon Valley will be given a test using the devices, which can turnaround results within around 20-30 minutes.
If a person tests positive, they will be asked to return home so they can self-isolate immediately.
The Welsh Government said that they will be closely monitoring the number of positive results to help them better understand the spread of the virus which will in turn inform actions to prevent further transmission.
Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething, said: “The pilot in Merthyr continues to go well with almost 8000 tested in the first 6 days of the pilot. I’m pleased we are now able to extend the mass testing programme to Lower Cynon Valley.
“As the Merthyr Tydfil pilot has shown, mass testing is providing us with a greater understanding of prevalence within the community and how many people have coronavirus. It’s also identifying how many people within the community are asymptomatic.
“Coronavirus has not gone away and we all need to work together to tackle this deadly virus. I want to thank everyone in Merthyr Tydfil who have made the pilot project a success and I would encourage the people of Lower Cynon Valley to get tested.”
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “Following several weeks of planning work, the Welsh Government has now confirmed that the mass testing pilot will soon be made available for residents in the lower Cynon Valley area following its extension from Merthyr Tydfil. This is an integral part of our fight against the virus, as it gives us a greater understanding of the prevalence and level of transmission within our communities.
“Following the positive progress seen in the downward trajectory of daily cases and the positivity rate after both the local measures and the national firebreak lockdown, it is now important that we identify and isolate those who are asymptomatic within our communities to break those chains of transmission as cases are now starting to rise again.”
Dr Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB said: “As a University Health board we are supporting whole area testing in Merthyr Tydfil and the lower Cynon Valley using a new kind of test that provides results in 30 minutes. The rate of COVID-19 infection is still very high in our communities, and by engaging with this testing programme, people in the lower Cynon Valley can play a major role in protecting everyone in our communities.”