The introduction of fees for home coronavirus test kits is being considered, a Kent health official has revealed.

The Kent County Council (KCC) Public Health Committee was told earlier today that fees “will vary” depending on a person’s profession and why they need to take the test.

Home test kits were first released in February

Businesses, such as large factories, can be expected to pay for Covid testing for their employees. However, more clarity is requested from the leaders of Whitehall.

Dr Allison Duggal, KCC’s acting director for public health, said: “I understand there is a direction to be taken in charging for testing.”

About 267 cases of Covid per 100,000 people have been recorded in the county in the past seven days, which is lower than the national average of around 358. This is a 7% increase from the previous week.

The majority of illnesses have been contracted by young people between the ages of 10 and 14, which is associated with outbreaks in schools.

In total, 15 schools are said to be plagued by Covid epidemics.

Kent County Council Acting Director of Public Health Dr Allison Duggal
Kent County Council Acting Director of Public Health Dr Allison Duggal

At today’s meeting, Ms Duggal said she did not expect the potential testing fees to affect “epidemic situations” across the county, such as in schools.

Other cases have been recorded among 40 to 50 year olds. The reasons are being investigated, but health officials believe they are mostly parents of children taken to school. This is related to the Indian Delta variant.

Testing remains a key tool in tracking the spread of the virus and has helped the company come 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 centers operated by KCC, including Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone and Ashford’s Unit 1 Eurogate Business Park. There were a total of 24 county centers in the spring.

Until now, home test kits for Covid have been free.  Image: iStock
Until now, home test kits for Covid have been free. Image: iStock

Ms Duggal revealed that demand was “down” at the remaining sites and she says this is largely due to the successful roll-out of kits to pharmacies.

She said: “We are keeping an eye on it and looking at how many people go through these centers.”

PCR testing sites are available in Canterbury, Dartford, Folkestone, Gravesham, Medway, Maidstone and Swale.

To request a test kit, click here.

For the latest news and advice on the coronavirus, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


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