North Yorkshire has been chosen for a national pilot scheme that will give rural areas of the region access to mobile covid tests.

North Yorkshire County Council is working with the Department for Health and Social Care to get a mobile deployment unit to deliver tests to the county’s most sparsely populated communities.

It follows the county council’s request to make a mobile unit available, offering two boxes of seven test kits to those who turn up to collect them.

The van will complement North Yorkshire’s five static testing sites at Harrogate, Northallerton, Selby, Scarborough and Skipton.

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:

“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.

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