Suffolk survey reveals 1 in 3 won't get Covid tests

Covid-19 rapid testing centres targeting people who unwittingly have the virus are to open in Haverhill and Lowestoft

A Suffolk survey revealed one in three won't get regular Covid-19 rapid tests - Credit: Suffolk Resilience Forum

One in three people in Suffolk has said they will not get get tested for Covid-19 twice a week, a new survey has revealed.

A study commissioned by Suffolk Resilience Forum and carried out by BMG Research between February 19 and March 13 surveyed 1,400 people in the county, around half of whom have already had a first dose vaccine.

While 94% said they were likely or very likely to take a free Covid-19 test if they thought they had the virus, 35 % - one in three - said they were not prepared to take a free test twice a week if they were asymptomatic.

Council chiefs have said more work is needed on engagement and education.

The top reason given for the refusal was that people felt they could self-isolate without a test - a reason which it was felt showed a "lack of understanding for what an asymptomatic coronavirus case is" as people will not isolate if they are not aware they have the virus.

Andrew St Ledger

Suffolk County Council head of communications, Andrew St Ledger - Credit: Suffolk County Council


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Andrew St Ledger, head of communication at Suffolk County Council, said: "That shows us there is an area of communications activity and service design that we really need to focus on.

"Sixty percent saying they are likely or very likely to take a test is still a very good figure, but it is significantly lower than the other behaviours and we conclude that is a piece of work we have to focus on."

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However, the second highest reason was because people felt they would not be able to get time off work if they tested positive, and the financial considerations that brought.

Other reasons given included being unaware of how to get a test, believing they were not eligible, discomfort from swabbing the throat and nose, concerns over reliability or inability to get to a test centre.

Alison Huxley, Public Health Suffolk's Covid testing lead, said: "We really want to focus on tackling those financial barriers to testing, so having joined up conversations with people about testing and the new discretionary payment scheme so that people know if they take a test and they have to isolate they are not going to be out of pocket. That is going to be really important on our engagement."

However, other indicators yielded more positive results - 99% said they are likely to wear a face mask indoors in public spaces, and 97% said they would self-isolate immediately if required to and for the full amount of time.

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