Lateral flow test sites being scaled back across borough

Two lateral flow test facilities in Antrim and Newtownabbey are to be scaled back following a reduction in footfall.

The collection service is to be reduced from three days to two, operating on Monday and Friday mornings at the reception at Theatre at the Mill and at Antrim Civic Centre.

To date, 1,400 Covid testing kits have been handed to small businesses in the borough.

Tests have also been distributed at events the local authority sponsors including an under-18 Manchester United football match and Shanes Castle Steam Rally in Antrim.

Theatre at The Mill.

The collection facilities opened three months ago, originally at Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey and Antrim Civic Centre, where they have been operating for use by staff and councillors with a collection service available to small businesses. Participants are required to carry out a nose and throat swab test themselves.

The service has been operating in the borough at a cost of £12,000 which is expected to be funded by the Department for Communities.

Lateral flow tests are for use by those without Covid symptoms. The purpose of the tests is to detect those who are infectious but have no symptoms.

The Department of Health states that around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the disease without knowing it.

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s Policy and Governance Committee, Ballyclare Ulster Unionist Councillor Norrie Ramsay said: “Hopefully this will be reviewed again in December. It is imperative we are all kept safe.”

Councillors also discussed temperature monitoring arrangements at civic buildings.

Airport DUP Councillor Matthew Magill asked what happens if someone has a temperature whilst visiting a civic building.

He was told by an officer that admittance advice is to remind people to get their temperature checked and if it remains raised, they will be refused entry.

Michelle Weir

Local Democracy Reporter

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