People from Kilkeel, Omagh and neighbouring areas, who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 are being encouraged to undertake regular rapid testing.
Following the identification of Delta variant (VOC-21APR-02) in Kilkeel and Omagh, the Public Health Agency deployed a number of interventions to help reduce the spread of the virus within the local areas. This targeted approached included identifying positive cases through calling forward selected neighbourhoods for PCR testing.
Cases continue to be identified in the Killeel, Omagh and neighbouring areas, and the public in those areas are now encouraged to undertake regular testing for COVID-19 using rapid Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs).
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “As society reopens and the Delta variant becomes dominant, it was inevitable that we would see a rise case numbers. However, we are not powerless and it is important we continue to do what we can to limit the spread.
“The testing interventions that have been put in place have been effective in helping us identify cases. However, it is clear that transmission rates are remaining high in some areas so these additional measures are important.
“For anyone living in Kilkeel, Omagh and the surrounding areas I would encourage you to avail of this rapid testing, if you don’t have any symptoms. You could have the virus and unwittingly spread it to your friends and family.
“It continues to be essential that if you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate promptly and book a PCR test immediately in the usual way.”
Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms, therefore regular rapid testing can play a key role in identifying further cases and helping to suppress further transmission. Rapid tests (LFDs) are simple to use and the results are available within 30 minutes.
A temporary LFD assisted testing site has been set up in South West Regional College in Omagh. Booking is not required and people can simply turn up and get tested.
A LFD test collection site is now open at Kilkeel Leisure Centre and people can collect packs to enable self-testing in their own home. These new sites supplement the existing LFD Collect and LFD Home Delivery options available to people. Further details of LFD Collect sites can be found at https://maps.test-and-trace.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Lourda Geoghegan, said: “A robust programme of testing and vaccination are critical lines of defence against COVID-19. People from Kilkeel and Omagh will be familiar with the Mobile Testing Units that have been in both areas in recent weeks offering PCR testing. I now encourage people who do not have symptoms to come forward to avail of rapid LFD testing.
“The rapid testing process has been designed to be as straightforward as possible. You do not need book. You can just turn up, take the test and get the results within about 30 minutes. It’s important that you undertake an LFD test twice weekly so that, in the absence of having symptoms if you have the virus, it can be identified early and prompt action can be taken to limit further spread.
“We will continue to monitor disease levels in all parts of Northern Ireland and put targeted and local measures in place where and when required. By getting tested, you can help keep each other safe and play your part in helping society return to normality.”
Anyone who gets a positive LFD result should self-isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test immediately and follow the advice thereafter.
PCRs are available at testing sites across Northern Ireland and can be booked at: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-