Soham FC to be one of six new Covid rapid test centres

Cllr Mark Goldsack, chairman of Soham Town Rangers, is delighted that the club has been able to support the NHS with the...

Cllr Mark Goldsack, chairman of Soham Town Rangers, is delighted that the club has been able to support the NHS with the ground being chosen for a rapid test centre. - Credit: Archant

Soham Town Rangers football ground will be one of six new centres to host rapid testing for key workers and all those who cannot work from home. 

Club chairman and local councillor Mark Goldsack said: "As a local member, I was asked if I knew anywhere suitable with a car park, ability to queue, an in and out door capability, and sole use. 

"I suggested our club and the army operative from logistics agreed it to be perfect.” 

Cllr Goldsack said it is intended that the Julius Martin Lane ground will test up to 10 people every 30 minutes and will look to operate 12 hours a day. 

He said: "The whole site will be NHS operated and managed. Soham Town Rangers FC will be willing landlords for a yet to be defined period." 

First tests begin on February 5 and the ground will be open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. 

Other sites have also been chosen across Cambridgeshire to help track cases of coronavirus and drive down transmission rates. 

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It follows a commitment from the Government to test as many people who are key workers and/or cannot work from home as possible. 

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been allocated 100,000 tests in the next six weeks, with the potential for the pilot to be extended. 

Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the disease without knowing it.  

Broadening testing to identify key workers showing no symptoms will mean finding positive cases more quickly, which helps break chains of transmission. 

Initially there will be six sites across the county, with the potential to set up pop-up sites in areas of high need if required. Tests will be offered at no cost to the public. 

Tests will be also be available in the following locations: 

The Hub, High Street, Cambourne, South Cambridgeshire, CB23 6GW – launches Wednesday February 5. 

Cambridge, The Meadows Community Centre, 1 St Catherine’s Rd, Arbury, Cambridge, CB4 3XJ – launches Friday 12 February. 

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “With around a third of people infected not showing any signs of the virus, it’s important that we ramp up our testing of people who are symptom-free to break the chains of transmission. 

“Most people should be staying at home at the moment and limiting all contact with anyone they don’t live with, but we know there are large numbers of people who have to leave home to go to work and they are the people we want to target with this testing. 

“By testing these people on a regular basis - twice a week for at least six weeks - we can reduce the number of cases of Covid-19 across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, limit the number of people who might die or become very ill as a result of the virus and protect our NHS. 

“However, it is not the testing itself that will reduce rates of transmission, but what people who are tested then go on to do. If people don’t isolate after a positive result, then we won’t reduce the spread of the virus.   

“This is now a legal requirement. Equally, if people regard a negative result as a ‘free pass’ and ignore national guidance it will do more harm than good.  

“While these rapid tests identify many people, who are infectious with the virus, some people who are infectious may still get a negative test result.  

“This is why it is so important people with a negative test result continue to socially distance and follow the lock-down rules, and to regularly access two tests a week if they are able to.” 

Lateral flow tests are a new kind of technology that can be used to test a higher proportion of asymptomatic people and do not require a laboratory to process the test. 

The process of taking a test takes on average 15 minutes from arrival to departure.