Published: 14:35, 07 December 2020
| Updated: 17:12, 07 December 2020
The Medway Towns have the highest infection rate in the country and along with three already opening for key workers, Rochester Cathedral will host the latest site.
Watch: Medway Council's director of public health James Williams says 'we can break the chain of transmission'
Cllr Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council, announced the move as part of the pilot scheme to increase testing across the community which launched at the weekend.
Speaking today at the Chattenden Community Centre, one of the sites being run by the military to identify carriers of the virus not showing symptoms in a mass testing programme, it was revealed the cathedral site will be up and running on Wednesday.
The university campus at Chatham Maritime and The Oast in Rainham are the other sites capable of each testing 500 people per day and public health officials say the testing scheme will last "as long as necessary" to start turning the virus numbers down.
The sites are being run by the Medway Resilience Unit - made up of 145 members of the armed forces - made up of personnel from five regiments, including the Royal Engineers trained at Bromptom Barracks in Gillingham.
Patients will be able to receive results between 30 minutes to an hour later and will be notified through the NHS Test and Trace app.
Cllr Jarrett said: "It's really important that we've got this initiative up and running.
"We will have a facility at the cathedral in Rochester which will be an impressive setting to do this work.
"Our numbers are rising but this is a worldwide problem and the government is working hard to get the vaccine out and that's light at the end of the tunnel.
"We have put all these positive measures in place – test and trace and symptom-free testing.
"This will identify more people who have Covid which is a good thing because asymptomatic testing is designed to identify people walking around with Covid and not knowing it and they can self-isolate.
"That has been the problem - as soon as we realised it was out in the community instead of individual settings we knew we were in for a rough time.
"We're well equipped to deal with it and I think in a short period we can get to grips with it."
Medway Council director of public health James Williams said symptom-free testing plans had been ongoing before the recent spikes through November.
"Our aim is to get a more accurate picture of the spread of this disease across Medway and do something practically about it," he said.
"This testing is one way in which we know we can reduce that spread and protect our population.
"Our rate is high but we've also got one of the highest testing rates in the country - 1,300 people per day.
"Testing is good because we go and find them and are able to support them."
Mr Williams said the addition of Rochester Cathedral came after discussions with colleagues in the health service and emergency services and identifying specific pockets of Medway where transmission rates are at their highest.
He said this will lead to "increased targeted testing in those areas".
The latest data gives figures for December 1.
In the seven days prior, Medway recorded 1,685 cases. Only Birmingham had more in the same period but at a case rate of 196.1 per 100,000.
Medway has overtaken Swale to having the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country.
The number of cases in the Towns has been growing every day throughout November and is now reporting 594.5 infections per 100,000 people.