Essential workers in Renfrewshire to get priority PCR tests as Omicron cases soar

People in Renfrewshire who are essential workers, at highest risk or eligible for new covid treatments will be now prioritised for a PCR test site slot as test numbers rocket in the area.

This measure is being taken to ensure timely access to PCR testing in the local authority, as rising rates of Covid-19 infections are resulting in increasing demand.

Figures from Public Health Scotland show that the last seven days, a total of 12,645 covid tests have been carried out in Renfrewshire, while 9,231 have been done in East Renfrewshire.

The Scottish Government says it is vital that essential workers get the test results they need to qualify for a prompt exemption from self-isolation. However testing remains available for anyone who needs it.

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Test & Protect will also focus resources on those most at risk of harm.

This means most people will be contacted by text message or email – with contact tracers prioritising telephone calls to those linked to higher risk settings such as hospitals and care homes.

People should respond to the text or email message, and complete the online form provided, so close contacts can receive the advice they need as quickly as possible.

The Express previously revealed that Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are now the worst covid hotspots in the country as cases skyrocketed over Christmas.

East Renfrewshire has topped the list of positive cases per 100,000 people with a rate of 1,494, with 1,436 testing positive between December 19 and Boxing Day.

Renfrewshire recorded 2,640 positive cases over the same seven days – with a slightly lower test positivity rate of 1,488 cases per 100,000 people.

This has jumped from the previous week’s figures, which recorded a test positivity rate of 903 and 943.8 cases and per 100,000 people in East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire respectively.

Nicola Sturgeon updated Parliament on the changes to priority PCR tests
(Image: 2021 Getty Images)

Updating Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The current surge in cases means testing capacity – sampling and processing – is under pressure.

“So we are now prioritising some slots for essential workers – such as NHS and transport staff – as well as for those who are clinically vulnerable or eligible for new Covid treatments.

“This ensures that essential workers will get the test results they need to qualify for an exemption promptly.

“This is a sensible step to take at this stage. However, notwithstanding this priority for essential workers, let me stress that testing remains available for anyone who needs it.

“If you try to book a test, and can’t find a slot in a location you can get to, do try again later. Additional PCR slots are released throughout the day.

“Test & Protect is also, for now, focusing its telephone tracing on high risk settings, such as care homes. The majority of us, if we test positive, will be contacted by text or e-mail, rather than by phone. If you are contacted by Test & Protect – either as a positive case or a close contact – please respond and complete the online form, and make sure you follow all advice given.”

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Daily Record – Paisley