NEW coronavirus testing sites are opening in Herefordshire to try and find cases where people are not showing symptoms.

There are currently two sites in Herefordshire which offer rapid testing for critical workers who cannot work from home, with a third opening next week.

The sites, which are at The Royal National College for the Blind's thePoint4 building in Venns Lane, Hereford, and in Ross-on-Wye at the Ryefields Centre in Grammar School Close.

A third site in Ledbury is due to open on February 16, but like the other two sites, will only be for workers whose employers have signed up.

Herefordshire's public health experts have been encouraging businesses to get involved with their rapid testing plan.

Conducted with a swab of the nose or throat, similar to a PCR test which is processed by a laboratory, a lateral flow test returns a result in around 30 minutes.

She said research had shown around a third of people with coronavirus are asymptomatic, so it was important to roll-out the rapid tests for those who can't work from home.

Encouraging workplaces to get involved with the rapid testing process, she said it's a good way to prevent large-scale Covid-19 outbreaks.

Hereford Times: Ledbury's Master's HouseLedbury's Master's House

Larger businesses can conduct testing in the workplaces, whereas smaller employers and those with employees working remotely, can go to the community test sites.

Speaking in a Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce webinar, specialist registrar Rebecca Pickup said: "If you have over 50 employees then you can apply to do LFD testing in the workplace. There are other offers available.

"The community testing offer has only recently been improved in Herefordshire, so that will get more and more.

"That's really good if you've got people who don't come together, so if you don't have a factory or one place where people gather, you can go to a community test site, or if you're got a small number of employees.

"Businesses that have over 50 employees can set up their own testing if they have lots of people on site."


Talking about the new test sites, Michelle Wood from Herefordshire's public health team said: "The community testing offer has been moving at pace, as Rebecca Pickup said, we've recently had confirmation we can go ahead with that offer.

"We've been setting up test sites across Herefordshire, and we've now got a lateral flow test site at Hereford city Point4 site, and that runs Monday to Friday, and also a Saturday morning.

"We've also set up this week in Ross-on-Wye at the Ryefields Centre, so that's now open on a Monday 8am to 2pm and Thursday 12.30pm to 6.30pm.

"We've also got Ledbury Master's House, that's going to be opening on February 16, and that will be available Tuesdays 11.30am to 12pm and Friday 2pm until 6.30pm.

"We're also looking at additional sites, and also at exploring some mobile sites so we can move around the county and come to some uindsutrial estates where businesses are more accessible."

The rapid tests are already being used at some schools in Herefordshire, including John Masefield in Ledbury, Wigmore in the north of the county, and John Kyrle in Ross-on-Wye.

Hereford Times: Ryefield Centre in Ross-on-Wye. Picture: GoogleRyefield Centre in Ross-on-Wye. Picture: Google

Rebecca Pickup said the tests are for people who are asymptomatic and can find cases quickly.

"It's technology that's been used for a long time, it's technology that's been used in pregnancy testing, but this one has been developed for coronavirus," she said.


"It's really helpful because it tests when you are infectious and it's really quick as well.

"One of the problems we have with the standard test is that you have to go to have it, or you have it at home, and then it gets sent off to a lab. That's a time delay.

"In outbreak situations the quicker things can be done the better because we can get on top of things really quickly, so the lateral flow tests are brilliant for that.

"They will find out if you're infectious, it won't find out if you're pre-infectious. The thing about a test is it will only be right for that day, so don't think for the next week you're fine because it could develop at any time.

"On that day, at that time, you don't have it. It's really great because of the speed we get it back."

Any business wanting more information is asked to email