Volunteers blitz 3,300 Northamptonshire households estate offering Covid tests ahead of lockdown lifting
Pilot scheme targets around 9,000 residents in bid to find coronavirus cases before shops and hairdressers reopen
Volunteers are blitzing a Northamptonshire estate this weekend going door-to-door offering DIY test kits in a final bid to cool coronavirus hotspots before restrictions are lifted.
Some 9,000 people will be offered PCR or lateral flow tests as part of a pilot scheme to identify those who could be risking passing on the virus.
Non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms and pub gardens are set to open on Monday under the second stage of the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown.
Scientists and health experts warn relaxing the restrictions could lead to another rise in Covid-19 cases.
Case rates in the former Corby borough — now part of North Northamptonshire — have more than halved since the middle of March but are still nearly three times the national average.
This weekend's scheme involves 3,300 homes on the town's Beanfield estate, identified as an area with high case rates yet low numbers of people getting tested.
Mike Deacon, for North Northamptonshire Environmental Health, said: "Each house on the Beanfield estate will be offered testing kits with a view to hopefully reduce case and transmission rates prior to the easing of national restrictions.
"The pilot also provides the council with an opportunity to test its surge capacity plans to address to spikes in cases.
"Depending on those conversations households will be offered either a PCR test or a rapid lateral flow test kit. That will depend if the household has symptoms or not.
"It really is a voluntary exercise If a household does refuse to take part the volunteers will just move to the next property, noting that household has refused to tak part
"We will also be leaving calling cards at households where we don't receive an answer so that those households do have the opportunity to access the test kits if they need to.
They will drop test kits off as they call door-to-door to each household and return later to collect the completed PCR test kits.
"The LFT kits will not need collection as test processing happens within the home. Each of the kits will have information on how to carry out the test."
PCR tests are for those WITH any of the three main coronavirus symptoms — a high temperature, new or continuous cough or loss or change in sense of taste.
Corby's current case rate is 94.2 across the whole of the borough — down from 240.9 on March 24, but still the second highest in the country among lower tier local authorities.
Rates in some areas of the town are over 220, however, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.