THERE are fresh hopes more coronavirus tests could be carried out in Herefordshire as the county's public health chief says new plans are being drawn up for community testing sites.

The acting director of public health said new rapid testing sites could be set up in the county to find Covid-19 cases in people who are not showing symptoms

The three coronavirus testing sites in Herefordshire, two in Hereford and one in Leominster, carry out PCR testing. This type of test takes a swab from the person's nose or throat, but can take more that two days to get the result.

For the rapid tests, called lateral flow, a swab is also taken from a person's nose or throat, but it then displays a result within 30 minutes.

Public health chief Rebecca Howell-Jones said there were no plans for any more PCR test sites in the county, but plans were being drawn up for rapid test sites.

"The PCR testing centres we are at the three where we are at the moment," she said.

"But what will be coming on board is we will be setting up rapid testing.

"Lateral flow testing is being rolled out to schools, care homes, and places like that. We are now eligible to put in for community testing venues around the lateral flow tests so we will be developing that over the next few weeks.

"We are where we are with PCR testing, but the real push in many different forms is around the lateral flow devices and the rapid testing.

Rebecca Howell-Jones said the lateral flow tests would be targeted to try and find positive cases in people with no symptoms, such as those with front-facing roles.

"It would be more targeted because it's about trying to find positive cases. It's a bit different now we're in a national lockdown, but it would be targeted, for example, at people who are still out and about.

"People who are having to go front-facing roles. The tests are best for trying to find positive cases, so it would be targeted at people who have higher exposure through their jobs or activities.

"It's still in development, but that is asymptomatic testing."

In Herefordshire, more than 7,000 PCR tests were carried out in the week before Christmas.

Data from the Government website showed in the week to December 23, 7,031 tests were carried out with 6 per cent returning a positive result.

In the most recent seven-day period, to December 31, the data showed 5,973 tests were carried out, but with 9.7 per cent positivity.

Latest Public Health England figures showed that 3,966 people in Herefordshire had been confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19 by 9am on Tuesday (January 5).