COMMUNITY testing for people without symptoms will be available in East Lancashire from next week in a bid to stop new Covid-19 cases in the county.

The tests will be available for people who are asymptomatic, but are still infectious, to try and help find cases who could be spreading the virus without knowing.

In Blackburn with Darwen, 24 adult social care staff have been trained to carry out the analysis of lateral flow tests and are delivering regular staff testing initially across four teams - Home First, Respite Care, Day Services and Re-ablement.

It is unknown yet where or when exactly these tests will be rolled but more details are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks about how people can access these tests in the county.

The programme is being co-ordinated by the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) and involves logistics support from the army.

Chair of the LRF, Angie Ridgwell said: "By testing people who aren’t showing symptoms, we can help to reduce the spread of infection in Lancashire. We’ll be increasing the number of tests over the coming weeks, as more venues become involved.

"Across Lancashire, our public sector organisations are working together to support and protect the public by reducing the spread of the virus. A lot of very complex work has already been taking place to understand the testing that we need, ahead of this programme being rolled out.

"It is really important we continue to disrupt the virus, even though we now have a vaccine. It will take time to get everyone vaccinated and while that takes place we remain at risk of getting Coronavirus.

"Testing is still important and remains one of our key defences to tackle the virus. We remind people to keep following the guidance to keep each other safe – hands, face, space."

As part of a pilot programme, similar testing has already been taking place in Lancashire County Council-run day centres, some fire stations and at Myerscough College.

Results for the Lateral Flow Test can be given in around thirty minutes, as they don't need to go to a laboratory for testing and will be rolled out in a similar way to the mass testing scheme trialed in Liverpool.

Up to a third of people with Covid-19 may display no symptoms, but are still infectious and council leaders have emphasised it is vital to find these cases to ensure people are isolating if necessary.

By finding those who are asymptomatic these tests will help to avoid people unknowingly spread the virus, bring infection rates down and council leaders hope it will help bring back some normality for people and businesses.

As in Liverpool, the testing will focus on working with communities and areas with high numbers of infections in order to try to bring infection rates down and help the move to a lower tier of restrictions, with wider public testing is planned as part of the later stages.

Although the tests are not compulsory, people are encouraged to get a test if offered one to help to get peoples lives and the economy in Lancashire back on track.

A sustained programme will be carried out over the next few months, including more local contact tracing, as well as additional support for communities and individuals who are struggling.

If you have symptoms, then you can book a free test by calling 119, book online at or through the government's NHS Covid app.