University urges asymptomatic students to take weekly PCR tests to help combat rising infections


Durham University, Durham County Council, and Public Health England have requested to all students, even those without symptoms, to take one PCR test per week, in an attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus within the city. The encouraged weekly PCR test would be in addition to the two Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) per week that students are already strongly encouraged to take.

An email to the student body sent today says: “We have a significant outbreak of the Delta variant amongst our student community, and we need you to act now to prevent further transmission.”

These PCR tests are free and can be ordered online, or taken at one of two sites. One is on Territorial Lane, close to Josephine Butler College, and the other is close to Wharton Park, Durham Railway Station, and the viaduct.

The centre is located near County Hall, which itself is close to Wharton Park and Durham Railway Station.

Asymptomatic people taking PCR tests do not need to isolate until they receive their results. That differs from anyone taking one because they had come into contact with a suspected case or have symptoms.

The move is a response to the rapid spread of Covid-19, especially the Delta variant, in Durham in recent days. The University has urged students to “remember Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air” and to take 2 Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) per week to help detect asymptomatic cases.

Data from 9th June showed that cases were then at their highest since February, while a high number of students are currently isolating and unable to participate in end-of-term events.

Students can already book LFTs via DUO at four University sites. LFTs are less accurate than PCR tests, and positive LFT tests are usually then confirmed with a subsequent PCR test.

Image: Oscar Elmon

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