A new COVID-19 testing programme has been launched in Southampton. This is a partnership between Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and the NHS, alongside a wider Hampshire network of public services. It has been commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care and paid for by the Government.
The programme is assessing the feasibility of at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for whole households, to help stop the spread of the virus as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Selected key workers from the NHS and council and their households have been invited to participate in this testing programme. Some University of Southampton staff and their households will also participate, alongside some University of Southampton students who are currently living in halls of residence. What we learn from this first phase will help us assess the feasibility of more widespread testing in the future.
A partnership of Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and the NHS will lead the initiative alongside a wider Hampshire network of public services. The aim is to involve participants over the course of the programme so that around 14,000 are taking part in the later stages.
“The non-invasive saliva test allows easier testing of people of all ages and ensures that everyone in the household gets tested regardless of symptoms and on a regular basis. We will initially invite Southampton’s 800-strong GP-practice workforce to take part, followed by some other essential key workers and some University of Southampton staff and students as we evaluate the logistics needed for regular testing of entire households.”Dr Debbie Chase, Interim Director of Public Health at Southampton City Council.
In case you missed it, take a look at our new video showcasing the University’s contributions to combatting COVID-19.