Staff and students in South Gloucestershire among first in country to trial rapid tests

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Staff and students at SGS College in South Gloucestershire are among the first in the country to trial rapid testing.

Hundreds of people have now taken the lateral flow tests which can give results in under 30 minutes, although they are "not as precise" as other methods.

The Director of Public Health for South Gloucestershire Council has chosen to use the tests in this setting because of a recent rise in infection rates for young people.

Sara Blackmore said: "What we were keen to do is pilot lateral flow testing. What it does for us is to test this out in a safe environment among a group of individuals where we are seeing rates increasing.

“LFT is a new test and while we know that it is not as precise as the testing for symptomatic people accessed via the national DHSC portal it will be another tool in our toolkit to help us manage the spread of the virus."

Since the most recent national lockdown weekly cases in South Gloucestershire have halved but in the past two weeks cases, particularly in young people, have started to rise again.

Mario is one of hundreds of students to trial the rapid tests. Credit: ITV News

Mario Williams, 17, is studying a sports coaching course at SGS College He received a negative test result via text in just under 30 minutes.

He said: "If you think about going out with your friends and family over this Christmas period to know if you have coronavirus or not is so important. It keeps everyone safe."

The Government has announced weekly rapid testing will be made available in all secondary schools and colleges in England from January. It is hoped it will prevent entire year groups having to self-isolate.

As a result this trial in South Gloucestershire, which ends at the end of term, is being watched very closely.

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