Covid-19: Rapid testing pilots taking place across Cheshire East

Rapid covid test

A pilot scheme of rapid testing for Covid-19 is taking place across Cheshire East this week.

The tests use a new methodology known as Lateral Flow Testing. These tests have been designed to deliver targeted and focused, rapid testing for people without typical symptoms of Covid-19.

The test just takes 30 minutes to produce a result, this is sent via email and SMS confirmation within 45-60 minutes.

Cheshire East Council volunteered to take part in the pilot programme and through this received 10,000 test kits to trial across the borough.

The 10,000 kits are insufficient stock to be able to open a large-scale site for the general public, so the council has specially chosen vulnerable groups and willing volunteers to take part in the trial.

Trials take place this week in the following six different pilot groups;

  • Cheshire Fire – 300 Cheshire Fire employees are being tested to determine the right logistics and test frequency to protect front line staff. This could help to reduce the number of staff who may have to self-isolate if a fellow staff member tests positive and is a potential way to offer regular screening to key workers to prevent asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) spread of the infection;
  • Congleton High School – A "Swab Squad" of trained testers are carrying out testing with a selected bubble, within a year 12 group. This pilot will be useful for the school through a reduction in the number of pupils having to self-isolate when a fellow pupil in their bubble tests positive;
  • Springfield High School – The council is looking to determine whether access to rapid results is able to shorten the time extremely vulnerable children are out of their routine, and thereby minimise the impact to their education;
  • East Cheshire Hospice - Supporting the hospice with the ability to test their administration staff, who are not covered by the national programme;Supported Living sites - Regular screening of staff and service users will take place before Christmas and;
  • Cheshire East Council - An internal testing programme with the council's Early Help & Prevention team will take place to look at how testing can be integrated as an additional safe measure for staff.

Dr Matt Tyrer, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East Council said: "These pilots are invaluable to our learning about Covid-19, the testing process and how we roll out bigger scale tests to best serve our residents in Cheshire East.

"The testing kits are good for helping to find people who aren't showing Covid-19 symptoms provided that they are administered properly. That is why we are currently carrying out focussed training and pilot testing of the kits in different settings. This will enable us to deliver an effective screening programme to identify people who are asymptomatic.

"The test is quick to take and provides rapid results in just 30 minutes. This means that when a negative result is received that person can go about their normal day and not have to isolate whilst waiting for results.

"During busy testing periods it can take up to 72 hours to receive the results of traditional tests who have to be sent to labs.

"A positive lateral flow test does however require a second test in order to confirm the positive result. This must be a traditional one offered at testing sites. Although this is an inconvenience it doesn't affect the 10-day isolation start date, which will commence after the lateral flow positive result itself."

The council expects to receive enough kits in the new year to be able to test 10 percent of the Cheshire East population every week.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Tony Haluradivth
Sunday 20th December 2020 at 8:06 pm
Just some info for readers and it is all true. My youngest daughter is a Care Worker and is tested regularly. She has always been negative on the PCR tests they gave her the new lateral flow test last Monday and it was positive. She had 3 more tests within 72 hours (all pcr) and voila all were negative. Zero symptoms and she is scrupulous with her face, space hands etc.
The droid who told her she was positive atTest and Trace told her even a false positive cancels out a negative and she was to isolate for 2 weeks as well as her her whole family. Her husband (a shift worker on zero hours ) and herself stand to lose a lot of money as she was working the Christmas shifts.
Armed with all her negative results she called Test and Trace again who did reiterate the quarantine rules, (her fellow care workers were also ordered to quarantine and my son in laws's colleagues plus my grandson had to inform his form tutor.) My daughter asked to speak to a supervisor (a more empathetic human who went above and beyond for her.) HE called the NHS Test and Trace HQ in Plymouth who spoke to my daughter and told her she had an obvious false pos' they sent her an email cancelling her 'stay at home order' and they removed her quarantine flag from the week's records. This all took a few hours but was well worth it to keep 2 healthy key workers AT WORK.
Here is the interesting part....The wonderful , helpful supervisor told my daughter that the lateral flow tests are turning up hundreds of false positives a week within their UNIT. These false positves are all being logged as cases and included the ONS daily figures.
David Hadfield
Monday 21st December 2020 at 8:49 am
Very interesting Tony, and just shows what false statistics and tests can do in destroying families, livelihoods and incomes.
Well Done for your daughter to pursue her instincts and unease when presented with the wrong facts.
Roy West
Monday 21st December 2020 at 9:43 am
Thank you Tony for that very informative report, it makes one wonder how true the statistics are when there could be so many false positive results. If NHS workers are having to self isolate due to false readings it puts so much extra pressure on the remaining staff.
Alan Brough
Monday 21st December 2020 at 11:45 am
It is well documented that there are a number of "false positives" associated with lateral flow testing - that is why it's backed-up with follow-up PCR testing. The two systems (together) should provide an accurate result.

My guess is that, in the case of Tony's daughter, the interpretation / guidance was lacking in the first instance.

What mustn't be concluded is that there is systemic failure. The alarming increase in hospitalisations and (sadly) deaths provides irrefutable evidence that infections are increasing and that broadly the "Science" points in the right direction.
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 21st December 2020 at 2:54 pm
Where is the evidence for the alarming increase in hospitalisations???? We still have 60% icu capacity, some hospitals are teetering as they do EVERY winter but many are having a better winter season than last year.

Like Matt Hancock,Alan, you are fearmongering. My nephew is a Medic at Adenbrookes and they state that Covid cases are steady and serious and critical cases are not rising alarmingly.
If you test more you find more cases. That the lateral flow tests are so unreliable is not shocking, nothing shocks me even the cost of wastage for useless inaccurate tests which can wreak havoc on people's fragile livelihoods. Even Alan Brough's uncritical acceptance of the mass roll out of these useless tests, and the £'s spent on it does not shock me.
We are now called "Plague Island" by EU leaders . (Even though we ALL know that this mutant strain is probably also rampant in Europe. (Look at Italy's figures). We just have the Labs to do the genome sequencing and a uselees Health Secretary to broadcast fear and panic . (Hancock should research the law of unintended consequences before he froths and goes nuclear with such intel'. Intel' which he and the PM have been sitting on since September too.
All those who think the EU leaders are right to ban travel and goods to "plague island" UK are planting their flags with blatant hypocrites. Even that does not shock me any more. (See link below #DoubleStandards ;))
Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah (we celebrate both in this household). Keep your chins up, love your family, friends and village dear fellow commenters and to the wonderful Lisa Reeves for giving us this forum.
Take heart (we have not had one case of Covid in our extended family, Mrs H and I neither know anyone(except for 2 student offspring of distant friends who succumbed to a mild version and shook it off) who have died or knowingly suffered from it. These facts give me hope and we are not cowed. We obey the safety guidelines as we accept there is a new virus but it is not Ebola. And remember the charlatans in this world will eventually get their comeuppance Xxxx
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 21st December 2020 at 3:19 pm
And Alan just an addendum to your daughter had to queue for one NHS PCR test after the lateral flow debacle. It was free admittedly, the other PCR test was adminstered by her place of work and she paid £120 out of her "hard earned" for the 3rd private PCR test in Cheadle. She had originally been told by T and T that 3 subsequent negatives were necessary to cancel the positive. Having gone to all this trouble cost and invasive testing she had the results within 72 hours and rung T and T truimphant in the knowledge that she jumped through the correct hoops. It was then that she spoke to the "Droid" who told her that it did not matter how many tests she had subsequently and her quarantine order was not being cancelled. My daughter is nothing if not tenacious and she spent a lot of time on this. Many people would have resigned themselves to the gross injustice and loss of schooling and earnings. End result was 3 and half days lost in work and pay for her and the husband but the respective employers were happy to see the official email and take them back on that basis. Sadly the School would not budge and would not allow our strapping, healthy grandson to return...resulting in a loss of nearly one week's school.
The false positive is included in the ONS daily case figures . It is a shame you think the lateral flow tests and the Test and Trace contact staff's initial attitudes and wrong advice is so acceptable.
Her case is far from unique (although I believe the correct and fair outcome which she strove for is).
David Hadfield
Monday 21st December 2020 at 9:24 pm
Well Done once again Tony for such a detailed explanation as to the inefficiency & stupidity by certain individuals who are in a position of authority, including the nonsense of the school's final decision.

With half-baked individuals AND politicians making irresponsible and rash decisions, is it any wonder we're now in the middle of "The Perfect Storm" ?

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a very positive person, with the glass half full, as opposed to half empty, but to see the way politicians of all persuasions are behaving over Brexit, over Covid, and now over the new strains of this dreadful virus, just beggars belief.

If only we had leaders who could LEAD instead of the half-baked twerps we have in government at the moment, we and the country would be all the better for it.

I dearly hope that Boris doesn't go weak at the 11th hour and give in to all the European Leaders who are trying to box this country into a corner.
Tony Haluradivth
Monday 21st December 2020 at 10:48 pm
Thanks David ...the current political class stink, ( here and in Europe).
I have just seen a tweet saying that Martha Hancock (wife of our pitiful Health Secretary) is currently ensconced at the family home in Little Thurlow with the minor Hancocks (she has been seen in the local town apparently). Little Thurlow is tier 2 and Mr Hancock ( currently in tier 4) stated last week that he is having Christmas with just his wife and children. Hmmm!! I am trying to work out how they are going to bypass a tiny travel restriction. Answers on the back of a postcard to the Metropolitan Police Covid/Stasi hotline please