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Residents in Kilkeel and Omagh asked to come forward for rapid Covid-19 testing

The Public Health Agency has deployed a number of interventions to slow the spread of the Delta variant in the two areas.

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Health Minister Robin Swann has asked people in Omagh and Kilkeel to come forward for rapid Covid testing (Niall Carson/PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann has asked people in Omagh and Kilkeel to come forward for rapid Covid testing (Niall Carson/PA)

Health Minister Robin Swann has asked people in Omagh and Kilkeel to come forward for rapid Covid testing (Niall Carson/PA)

People in Kilkeel, Omagh and surrounding areas who do not have any Covid symptoms are being asked to undertake regular rapid testing.

Following the identification of the Delta variant in the two areas, the Public Health Agency deployed a number of interventions to help reduce the spread of the virus.

This included identifying positive cases through calling forward selected neighbourhoods for PCR testing.

As society reopens and the Delta variant becomes dominant, it was inevitable that we would see a rise in case numbersRobin Swann

But Health Minister Robin Swann said cases continued to be identified in the areas and has now encouraged people to undertake regular testing using rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs).

Mr Swann said: “As society reopens and the Delta variant becomes dominant, it was inevitable that we would see a rise in 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.

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“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.”

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.

An LFD test collection site is open at Kilkeel Leisure Centre and people can collect packs to enable self-testing in their own home.

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Surge testing for the Delta variant took place in Kilkeel last month (Liam McBurney/PA)

Surge testing for the Delta variant took place in Kilkeel last month (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

Surge testing for the Delta variant took place in Kilkeel last month (Liam McBurney/PA)

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Lourda Geoghegan said: “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.”


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