Published: 20:05, 12 October 2021
| Updated: 20:11, 12 October 2021
The introduction of a fee for home coronavirus test kits is being considered, a Kent health boss has revealed.
Kent County Council's (KCC) public health committee was told earlier today that charges would "vary" depending on someone's occupation and the reasons they needed to take the test.
Businesses, such as large factories, may be expected to pay for Covid tests for their employees. However, more clarity is being sought from Whitehall chiefs.
Dr Allison Duggal, who is KCC's interim director for public health, said: "My understanding is there is a direction of travel looking at charging for tests."
Around 267 cases of Covid per 100,000 people have been recorded across the county over the last seven days, which is below the national average of about 358. This represents a rise of 7% from the previous week.
The majority of illnesses have been contracted by youngsters aged 10 to 14, which is associated with outbreaks in schools.
A total of 15 schools are understood to be experiencing Covid outbreaks.
At today's meeting, Ms Duggal said she does not expect potential test charges to affect "outbreak situations" across the county, such as within schools.
Other cases have been recorded among 40 to 50 year olds. The reasons for this are being investigated, but health bosses believe they are mainly parents of children being taken to school. This is related to the Indian Delta variant.
Testing remains a key tool for tracking the spread of the virus and helped society to move out of lockdown across the UK.
Lateral flow devices are frequently available. These give quick results within minutes, similar to pregnancy tests. There are also more reliable PCR tests.
In addition, there are two asymptomatic coronavirus testing centres run by KCC, including Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone and Ashford's Unit 1 Eurogate Business Park. There were a total of 24 county hubs in the Spring.
Ms Duggal revealed the demand was "dwindling" at the remaining sites and she says that is largely due to the success of the rollout of kits at pharmacies.
She said: "We are keeping an eye on it and having a look at how many people are going through those centres."
PCR testing sites are available in Canterbury, Dartford, Folkestone, Gravesham, Medway, Maidstone and Swale.
To apply for a test kit click here.