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Boy, 4, misses first full week at Five Acre Wood School in Maidstone after trouble getting a coronavirus test

A four-year-old boy who has just started primary school has missed his first full week of reception because of struggles getting a Covid-19 test.

Logan Shoebridge started at Five Acre Wood School in Boughton Lane, Maidstone on Wednesday, September 2.

Logan Shoebridge with mum Danielle Nimmo from Maidstone
Logan Shoebridge with mum Danielle Nimmo from Maidstone

After just three days in the classroom, he was sent home as a precaution because he had a minor cough.

Logan's grandmother Stephanie Markiewicz picked him up from school and immediately tried to get him booked in for a drive through test as he was unable to return without a negative result.

Mrs Markiewicz, of Upper Front Road, Maidstone, said she spent days last week trying to get an appointment.

She said on one occasion, the nearest test available on the government's booking portal was in Dundee in Scotland, 493 miles away.

The 53-year-old said: “It’s frustrating but I understand why he was sent home because even if it was just a cold we don't want to spread anything, it's just the fact that it has been impossible to get a test.

Logan Shoebridge with dad Jack
Logan Shoebridge with dad Jack

"If we could have got a drive through one done straight away, he could have been back at school by the end of the week.

"Because he has autism, he takes a long time to settle into routines. He didn't even have a chance to get used to going into school.

"I was looking online every hour to see if anything came up in Kent but there was nothing."

Other results showed up in Hounslow in London, 66 miles away, and Telford in Shropshire, 204 miles away.

After repeated searches, Mrs Markiewicz was eventually able to sign up for a home testing kit.

“We are seeing a significant demand for tests but if you have symptoms we urge you to get tested."

Over the weekend Logan’s results came back negative and he returned to school yesterday.

Logan lives in Union Street with his mum Danielle Nimmo, 24, dad Jack Shoebridge, 24, and 18-month-old brother Zack.

Last week a nurse from Sutton Valence Care home faced the same struggles when she was offered her nearest test in Cardiff.

The Department for Health said improvements are being made to the system of allocating regional testing slots to ensure the distance limit does not go beyond 75 miles.

It urges anyone struggling to access appointments to keep trying as new slots are made available each day.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is working, our capacity is the highest it has ever been and our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week.

“We are seeing a significant demand for tests but if you have symptoms we urge you to get tested. New booking slots and homes testing kits are made available daily.

“We are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, as well as prioritising at-risk groups and we recently announced new laboratory facilities and new technology to process results even faster."

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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